Daily Readings & Thought for July 2nd. “THE FAST THAT I CHOOSE”
We do not practise fasting these days – not for religious reasons anyway. Our Isaiah chapter has an interesting and challenging reference to God’s attitude to fasting, which we normally take it to mean ‘abstaining from eating.’ In our chapter 14 in 1 Samuel we read of a human inspired command to fast – that by Saul, now king, and how unwise that proved to be for the people became faint in their pursuit of the Philistines [v.24].
This is not the kind of fast that the LORD causes Isaiah to write about. His chapter (58) starts by condemning what was happening in Israel. “Behold ” the LORD says, ” in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.”[v.3,4]
The all seeing eye of the LORD looked to see a different kind of action and what we read from verse 6 has considerable application to believers today. “Is not thisthe fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness … Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him …” In some poor countries this desire of the LORD still has application, even in ours and similar countries, a 100 years ago, it had application, but now we expect the Govt to provide – or one of the ‘do good’ organisations, like the Salvos.
However it is vital genuine believers are constantly ready to “satisfy the desire of the afflicted” which can arise in many ways, for “then shall your light rise in the darkness …. And the LORD will guide you continually…” [v.10,11] and as a result of that guidance, through His word, “you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Let us daily practice “the fast that I (the Lord) choose.” This will surely lead to our partaking of “the water of life” in God’s kingdom as we read yesterday in the final chapter of the whole Bible, verses 1 and 17.