Read Isaiah 58
Verses 5-8 talk about the appropriate lifestyle of a fast. Fasting is not questioned. It is assumed. In addition to that, we are to live a life of generosity and of meeting other people’s needs. Otherwise, our starving to death is not effective!
A fast that makes a difference is accompanied by speech that is kind, compassionate, fair, and full of integrity. Clearly, I must check my heart and my words if I want to engage in effective fasting and prayer.
Verses 9 & 11 say: “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, Here I am!… And the Lord shall guide you continually, and satisfy you in drought and in dry places, and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.”
The bonus! Wow! A flourishing, fruitful, well-watered garden. I love that! Answers to prayer. I need that! I would love to be one who is a picture of beauty, life, and refreshment for anyone who comes near. I would also love to be one who people would come to for prayer because they felt safe, cared for, and knew that I would pray.
Verse 14 says: “Then will you delight yourself in the Lord, and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage (promised for you) of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”
I don’t know what this looks like, but it sounds like a very good thing. “Delighting in the Lord” is a very consistent source of joy.
How do these verses apply to you? When you read verses 6 – 10, do they spotlight an area that you need to take action on? Does this encourage you or challenge you? Can you apply any of it to your own life? If Jesus physically joined you for an entire week – with family, in church, on the phone, or when your private door is closed – how would you feel? How do you think He would feel?
I don’t think He’d be looking for perfection, but what would He be looking for? What do you think?