Hey Relentless Students! We are on day 8 of the 30-day Devo. Don't forget to spend 15-20 minutes outside as part of your devotional time today. If you would rather watch me awkwardly talk about this devotional you can watch the attached video otherwise, you can read the text below.
Our passage today is found in Isaiah 58:11 which says,
"And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail."
What is the situation that brings this verse into being? Whenever looking at just one verse always be looking at the surrounding context to help bring to light what is meant to be gleaned. In this case, we want to start at verse 1 and go through 12.
This passage starts off with the people of Israel seeking out God, delighting in His ways and His nearness. From there we see they are fasting in order to be heard by God, but they are called out for fasting incorrectly. Fasting, according to God, is giving of yourself to those suffering or oppressed around you, but the people were not fasting like this instead, they still did as they wanted. Then the text turns to what happens when people fast according to how God intended versus what they were doing at that point. Which brings us to our verse above.
So, we aren't just given what the verse above says, but we have to give in order to receive what is spoken of. So, how do we fast in a way that pleasing to God and brings forth what is said above. We feed the hungry, help the poor and homeless, give clothes to those who need them, and satisfy the afflicted. Then, BOOM!
Now, when we read the verse above it may feel confusing as to what actually happens. You see, the people were fasting in order for God to help them restore their land, for they had been exiled and their land destroyed. So, the people cried out for help but did so in a selfish manner. Thus, this is a corrective text, meant to show the people how to fast the way God intended so that He would aid them during this time.
When we think of fasting we tend to think of not eating or drinking for X amount of hours and while that can be part of it that is not all. Fasting is depriving yourself of something in order to see God work in your life. When we encounter a time of need but are still generous with what we have, we are fasting.
It's interesting how our land is currently in need of help. People are struggling left and right due to what has happened. How do we respond? Do we selfishly ask for God just to bless/help us? Or do we help others while trusting that God will help us in the midst of that?
I think we all know the right answer and I hope you are helping those around you in whatever capacity you can.
My challenge to you today is to take time and read Isaiah 58:1-12 with your family and ask "how are we helping those around us?" If the answer is "I don't know" or "we aren't" then take the next step. Find ways to be generous to those around you and trust God will come through. If God wasn't willing to come through for you when you come through for others He wouldn't make that promise.