“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him.” Isaiah 58:6-7
The children of Israel had forgotten that God had them here on this earth to be His representatives, to show people the way to God. They were to love people and share the importance of knowing Jehovah. Instead they thought that they had somehow “deserved” the status that they had as the “Children of God”. They began to act as they were “gods” unto themselves. When God favors us with certain status or vocations we can easily fall into a trap of thinking that we achieved the status and vocation by our own merits. This leads to pride and arrogance. This is what God pointed out to the Israelites. They were fasting and God was not listening to their pomp and circumstance. Instead God wanted equality, justice and love among all people. Bryant Meyers, in his book, “Walking With The Poor” writes,
“When the non-poor play god in the lives of other people, they have stopped being who they truly are and are assuming the role of their true vocation as well. Instead of understanding themselves as productive stewards working for the well-being of their community, they act as if their gifts and position are somehow rightfully theirs, or earned by merit, and hence are solely for themselves and for their well-being.” The prophet Isaiah asked the people, “What is it that God has required of each of us?” He answered with a sobering indictment, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him.” Most of us live such a privileged life. Let’s do all we can to give back to those in need.
Father, you take the plight of the poor seriously. You hate injustice and love mercy. Help me to love others the way you do. Help me live my true calling, as a productive steward working for the well-being of others in need. Show me today Lord how I can make a difference in the lives of others.
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