Thursday, August 22, 2013

something more

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 

Isaiah 58:9-10

The degree to which we give ourselves to helping people is the degree to which we act as God acts. In this chapter God takes Israel to task for religious formalism that goes through the ritual external motions of worship, but is not the result of a heart that is changed by God. It is easy to fast or to repeat rote prayers, or to attend a religious service. It is very hard to give yourself to helping the needy and supporting those in affliction.

God rebuked the externalism of Israel by blatantly telling Israel he would not accept their meaningless worship. He wanted something more. He would honor hearts that would care for people like God cares for people. And they would not know God's pleasure until the joy of obedience to Him began to conform them to this love and transform individuals so that a society cared for the neediest among them. They would only know God's blessing when they longed to bless others with His love.

God, save me from formalism. I like to point my finger and ignore yokes. But just like You freed me in Christ, help me through active love to pour myself out for the hungry and to not be satisfied until the afflicted are calmed by an active, healing love that You provide through me. Amen.

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