Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God. “Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 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 them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. (Isaiah 58:1-12, NRSV)
Most of us if given an option would probably not want to fast at all…
I know I really love food, so giving it up for any amount of time is hard. But why do we do it?
Do we fast to bring attention to our selves? If so that is not the fast that God is calling us to.
If we fast to draw attention to ourselves, then we are not fasting for the right reason. This text points to the reason we fast, of give up something so that others might have it.
We are supposed to be focused on God and relying on Him for all of our needs, not building ourselves up in the eyes of others, or doing things so that we get noticed.
God wants us to be a part of removing the yoke that burdens our brothers and sisters, to work for justice and the end to hunger and homelessness. Id is possible for one person to do this? Not alone, but one person, being you, working with another person, being me, can change the world. If we are united and remove the yoke of evil from among us and stop bickering and fighting with each other and the Lord will guide us and His kingdom shall be made known!
So give up what you have because that is what God is leading you to do, so that His kingdom will be made known.