The following verses became a theme for me starting in Memorial Day weekend 2016. These verses have not left me as a theme since that time and they have become a theme that I strongly believe applies to others in the United States. I now think of this passage as a “call to sacrificial service” by God. God doesn’t ask for our service out of obligation, but rather after He sets us free and builds us up to have the capacity and we understand how to serve Him through His service to us.
Starting in November 2018, these verses took on a whole new meaning for me. I began to realize that these verses had a national applicability for the United States. As Christians, if we want God to hear us we must change our behavior and begin to show a pattern of sacrificial service for the Lord until He acknowledges our change and begins to fulfill the better parts of Isaiah 58. The better parts of this chapter are truly incredible.
In 2016, after a period of time where my fellowship with the Lord was hindered due to my own behavior, I took care of some problems and God brought me to Isaiah 58:11 in a very unique manner.
11 And Yahweh will lead you continually, and satisfy your soul in a barren land, and he will strengthen your bones, and you shall be like a well-watered garden, and like a spring of water whose water does not fail.Isaiah 58:11 (LEB)
I read the whole chapter to understand the context of Isaiah 58:11 and as I considered the whole passage before the Lord, He put a message on my heart to share with others. At first, I did not think I was qualified to share the message because I did not think I had done what God is asking in this passage (see verses 6-7). As I prayed about this, God reminded me of a significant set of financial decisions I had made 3-4 years previous. These decisions allowed me to share more of my own resources with a ministry effort God had called me to support. God confirmed to my heart that I had been fulfilling part of Isaiah 58:7 and this did qualify me to share this message with others.
As you read this passage, consider God’s unwillingness to listen to His people even when their is prayer and fasting. He places a condition on His response to His people. His conditional response is completely appropriate because His people have gotten into a bad state and they need to behave differently in order to gain God’s attention and willingness to respond.
This matches our present day situation extremely well. I will make the same “call for sacrificial service” here in writing as I have on numerous occasions in visiting with others. This “call” is not an obligation. It is a request for your free will service in consideration of everything God has done for you. If you are wanting God to address the situation in our country as the environment worsens with the rise of many evil things, then consider what God thinks about your “sacrificial service”. Are you making a sacrifice in your life to serve God’s interests regarding injustice and bondage which can come both from within our souls and from external forces?
- release the bonds of injustice
- untie the ropes of the yoke
- let the oppressed go free
- tear every yoke to pieces
These issues of injustice and bondage are very complex in any society, so any willingness to help with them will cost you a chunk of your time and present you with many challenges.
Are you making a sacrifice in your life to serve God’s interests regarding those who are poor and needy?
- feeding the hungry – (divide your bread – yes, eat out less and take some of what you might spend on your own food to feed others)
- taking care of the homeless (bring them into your home – yes, a big sacrifice)
- covering the naked
- do not hide yourself from your relatives (do you have family members who are a challenge for you? – reach out to them and take care of them even though you may not like them)
1 “Call with the throat; you must not keep back! lift up your voice like a trumpet, and declare to my people their rebellion, and to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me day by day, and they desire the knowledge of my ways like a nation that practiced righteousness, and had not forsaken the judgment of its God; they ask me for righteous judgments, they desire the closeness of God. 3 ‘Why do we fast, and you do not see it? We humiliate our soul, and you do not notice it?’ Look! You find delight on the day of your fast, and you oppress all your workers! 4 Look! You fast to quarrel and strife, and to strike with a wicked fist. You shall not fast as you do today, to make your voice heard on the height. 5 Is the fast I choose like this, a day for humankind to humiliate himself? To bow his head like a reed, and make his bed on sackcloth and ashes; you call this a fast and a day of pleasure to Yahweh? 6 Is this not the fast I choose: to release the bonds of injustice, to untie the ropes of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and tear every yoke to pieces? 7 Is it not to break your bread for the hungry? You must bring home the poor, the homeless. When you see the naked, you must cover him, and you must not hide yourself from your relatives. 8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall grow quickly. And your salvation shall go before you; the glory of Yahweh will be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and Yahweh himself will answer. You shall cry for help, and he will say, ‘Here I am!’ If you remove from among you the yoke, the finger-pointing and evil speech, 10 if you offer your soul to the hungry, and you satisfy the appetite of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness, and your darkness will be like noon. 11 And Yahweh will lead you continually, and satisfy your soul in a barren land, and he will strengthen your bones, and you shall be like a well-watered garden, and like a spring of water whose water does not fail. 12 And they shall rebuild ancient ruins from you; you shall erect the foundations of many generations, and you shall be called the bricklayer of the breach, the restorer of paths to live in. 13 If you hold your foot back from the Sabbath, from doing your affairs on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a pleasure, the holy day of Yahweh honorable, if you honor him more than doing your ways, than finding your affairs and speaking a word, 14 then you shall take your pleasure in Yahweh, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth, and I will feed you the heritage of Jacob your ancestor, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.”Isaiah 58:1–14 (LEB)