I’ve been bouncing around Isaiah the last few days…and I really can’t provide any useful commentary…but these are the verses that keep wrangling my attention:
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Maintain justice and do what is right, for My salvation is close at hand and My righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast…'” 56:1-2a
“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have been false to Me, and have neither remembered Me nor pondered this in your hearts? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear Me? I will expose your rightesousness and your works, and they will not benefit you. When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away. But the man who makes Me his refuge will inherit the land and possess My holy mountain.” 57:11-13
“For day after day they seek Me out; they seem eager to know My ways; as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask Me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and You have not notied?’
Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only for a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
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, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your rightesousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you SPEND YOURSELVES in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” 58:2-10
“‘…if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’ The mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 58:13b-14
“Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so His own arm worked salvation for Him, and His own righteousness sustained Him. He put on righteousness as His breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped Himself in zeal as in a cloak.” 59:15-17