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Isaiah 58

Why People Stare at Prophets

3 "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. 4 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. 5 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? 6 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? 7 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? 8 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. 9 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,

The Yoke is On You

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Musings

Chapter 56 begins what scholars consider to be third Isaiah, writing just after the return of the Israelites to Jerusalem. The return is not quite all second Isaiah had hoped it would be, rebuilding Jerusalem will be a long hard task, so these oracles are a bit less optimistic and idealistic. This passage is contrasting true and false worship. It's not hard to discern the meaning, God would like sincerity in worship that leads to and results from caring for each other. God is seldom about going through the motions (fasts, sacrifices, rituals) for their own sake, but almost always about living correctly and giving credit where credit is due. Also, beware of eggs in frilly underwear.


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