“Shout! A full-throated shout!
Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives,
face my family Jacob with their sins!
They’re busy, busy, busy at worship,
and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people—
They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’
and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’
Isaiah 58:1-3 MSG*
Do you have a decision or project you’ve been working on for a long time? Something that gnaws at your mind or heart – something which stares at you at the end of the day – something you try to get to but there never seems to be enough time to start it? I am talking about a decision or project that has been in the making for years – not the laundry pile that is always there. You have consulted the Lord – You have asked for help. You have even fasted to keep your mind focused on God in your situation. Why can’t you get resolution?
“Well, here’s why:
“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit.
You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
won’t get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after:
a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face
and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting,
a fast day that I, God, would like?
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families. Isaiah 58:4-7 MSG*
God is asking us to turn our hearts and minds away from ourselves and look at the people and situations he has placed in our path in this day. The project or decision we are focused on is irrelevant if we haven’t dealt with the moments we are in. Looking ahead to plan or behind to berate ourselves for failing to “get it done” is of little consequence. What He is asking us to do is follow Him in the moment we are in.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ Isaiah 58:8-9 MSG*
Setting ourselves aside (our personal wants and desires) in furtherance of His Kingdom in this moment, will pave the way for resolution of our own situation. If we follow Him in each moment of this day, the decision or project will either get resolved in His time or He will give us understanding that it was not His to start with. Either way, His peace will carry us because in the words of Elevation Worship “I’m gonna see a Victory, for the battle belongs to you, Lord!”