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Bible Pathways - August 12, 2005

  • 2005 Aug 12
  • COMMENTS

August 12

 

Read Isaiah 58:1

 

In Today's Reading:

 

True fasting; sin, confession, and redemption; future glory of Jerusalem; the day of vengeance; God's loving-kindness to Israel

 

During Isaiah's time, the Israelite leaders complained to God: Why have we fasted . . . and You see not? why have we afflicted our soul, and You take no knowledge? (Isaiah 58:3). They accused Him of not paying attention to what they were doing and they felt they had wasted their time. The Lord answered: In the day of your fast you find pleasure (continue to seek selfish interests), and exact (exploit) all your labors (laborers). . . . you fast for (continue your) strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness (continue to be occupied with personal conflicts) (58:3-4).

 

Even more serious was their hypocrisy. The Lord said: Is it such a fast that I have chosen? . . . is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him (to impress others with pretended humility)? (58:5; compare Luke 18:10-14). Through Isaiah, God reminded the Israelites that acceptable fasting was not to impress the world on how religious they were, but to seek the will of God through intercession. The Lord said the fast He would accept would be preceded by acts of kindness such as to loose the bands (bonds) of wickedness, to undo (release, remove) the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free. . . . to deal (divide) your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out (wandering) to your house. . . . when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh (never neglect your responsibility to your own family) (Isaiah 58:6-7).

 

If what we do for someone, or for the Lord, is meant to impose or simply imply the expectation of special favors in return, then our prayers and fasting will be futile. Our prayers are effective only when our attitude and our relationship with others unconditionally expresses the mercy and love of God.

 

Often, being a Christian is thought to be the sum total of things we don't do. But "Christian" is first and foremost who we are which is then expressed in what we do. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

 

Christ Revealed:

 

As the One anointed to preach Good Tidings (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus read this passage to the rulers of the synagogue (Luke 4:16-22) but stopped before the completion of the second verse, thus showing that, although He fulfilled the first part, the second part —the day of judgment — was yet to be fulfilled. Christ heals the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1; Psalm 147:3) and frees us by His Truth (John 8:32-36).

 

Word Studies:

 

60:5 flow together = become enlightened; fear = swell with joy; 61:3 appoint = impart comfort; 62:4 Hephzibah = My delight is in her; Beulah = married; 63:15 the sounding of thy bowels = the yearning affection of your heart.

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mrs. J.R. Kennedy · Staff: Kenneth Roy Roberts III · Government Officials: Rep. Dan Boren (OK) and Rep. Connie Mack (FL) · Country: Kazakhstan (17 million) central Asia · Major languages: Kazakh and Russian · Religious tolerance · 40% Muslim; 25% Russian Orthodox/Armenian Apostolic; 1% Protestant; .6% Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Praise and glorify the Name of the Lord (Hebrews 13:5).

 

Optional Reading: 1 Peter 2

 

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Thessalonians 1:8

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