Isaiah 58:6-8, “Here is the sort of fast I want ~ releasing those unjustly bound, untying the cords of the yoke, letting the oppressed go free, breaking every yoke, sharing your food with the hungry, taking the homeless poor into your house, clothing the naked when you see them, fulfilling your duty to your kinsmen!” Then your light will burst forth like the morning, your new skin will quickly grow over your wound; your righteousness will precede you, and Adonai’s glory will follow you.
The Israelites were fasting by not eating and they would cover their heads with ashes and look mournful and at the same time, they were neglecting these things listed in the verses above that they knew they were called to do. They felt it was more convenient to come up with their own “fasting” procedure than it was to obey God. There are times for fasting when you may deny yourself of food for a designated period of time, but God’s point here was that they expected to get God’s attention by “fasting” while they were being directly disobedient to the things they knew they should be doing on a daily basis. It was the same as when Samuel told Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice. God wants our obedience on a daily basis, not just some random sacrifice. Obedience has almost become a negative word which really makes no sense. One of God’s commands is to take a day as a Sabbath ~ a day of rest so we can be refreshed and yet too often in our day we are just “too busy” to do that and we miss out. Who does it benefit if you are obedient in that area? You and your family are the biggest benefactors of taking a day to unplug and rest and refresh. Why is that so difficult to do? What do you gain by not doing it? That is pretty much the most simple obedience we can do and yet not very many people actually do that on a weekly basis even though it is a command of God. He did it and since He created us and He knows how these bodies function best, why don’t we? That is a pretty simple area to start in if you are looking for ways to follow Him that maybe you are neglecting.
There’s a lot of need out there and it should not be the government meeting those needs, it should be the church. (Church ~ the body of Christ). There are organizations that could use money and volunteers to help take care of the homeless if you feel led to do that. There are families who don’t have food in your community and around the world, you know the list, and it goes on and on for things you can do to help others. God wants us to reach out to those in need and maybe you can’t do a lot as far as money goes but maybe you can volunteer somewhere.
Ask God to show you how you can be obedient today in an area that maybe you have just overlooked. Are you contributing to the things of God? Are you taking time to take care of yourself and rest? Are you kind? Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you spending time alone with Him in His Word and in prayer? What are you missing out on? Don’t see obedience to Him as negative, it is clearly the most positive thing you can do with your life! Teach your children to look for ways to serve and to be obedient to God. Pour your heart out to God and also ask Him to show you how you can draw closer to Him in obedience to all He is asking you to do today!
Quote: “Each of us will one day be judged by our standard of life, not by our standard of living; by our measure of giving, not by our measure of wealth; by our simple goodness, not by our seeming greatness.” ~ William Arthur Ward