Other Applications vs 7
The examples above are dealt with through spiritual strength in spiritual struggles through the power of the God given to us as we fast and move to deliver. If this is all there is then one might say that we are spiritually minded but no earthly good. Jesus who is our example in all this certainly fasted to accomplish the above. He also did not fall short of the whole of the Isaiah call. There are also things that He dealt with that were not just spiritual needs but also the physical needs of those He met. We too in our fast must reach out and help those who are in physical need. Here are some of the examples below.
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
It may seem peculiar to say this but part of your fast is not just the giving up of food but it is the taking of your food and using it to feed the hungry. This is denial of self to help others. Let me state it here: it is not your responsibility to feed the hungry of the world. mark 14. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. This verse tells us that we have a choice. It is whenever you wish you may do them good. Watch out for those who try to say it is your duty to feed the poor. On the other hand we must remember what James wrote in chapter 2 verses 14-18. Though it should be noted that he is referring to brothers and sisters in the faith and not the world in general. It is also a matter of him challenging their wrong headed faith. What Isaiah is speaking about is the time of fasting and the works that God wants you to do as part of the fast. These are two different issues.
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
This passage is referring to the poor who are cast out from the place where they were living. When we see a brother or a sister , perhaps at times it is a family, that through circumstances end up on the street, as part of your fast, you should open the doors of your home to give them temporary lodging. There are many people though who are living on the street because of choice. Others who's behaviour have placed them in the streets. They are not there because they are poor but because they are dangerous or a risk to safety. Use wisdom if this is going to be a part of your fast.
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
This is referring to basic survival. It is not referring to fashion sense. Certainly if you want to give someone something very good and fashionable there is no crime in that yet what you are then giving is a gift. What the Lord is asking is that you extend yourself to help those in need and not those who simply want. Once again it is part of the fast.
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
This one may seem strange at first. Specially to those who have a well adjusted family, both near and extended. The difference though with this line of scripture from those above is that here there is a sense of obligation. Through extension this can also refer to the local church body of believers that you fellowship with... brothers and sisters in the faith. In the course of daily life you will have contact with both groups and will become aware of the needs of those you know. If the needs of others becomes greater then what you can give comfortably you can pull back to give yourself a rest. I have observed that the biggest need in the church and sometimes in families is for friendship. There are many that always seem to need to take up more of your time than you can give. Again you can pull back. This is a natural response. At the same though you can say when you are pulling back it is hiding yourself, from your own flesh and those who are fellows members of your church. As part of the fast that the Lord is asking you to do, it is to extend yourself to help meet their needs even when you don't feel like it. It is laying aside your time to rest to help them. It is a time to reach out to family members and get involved with them and help meet their needs. With some family members and those of the church this will be a sacrifice.
The reason for doing verses 6 & 7
vs 6 Entering into spiritual battle to set people free from tyranny. vs 7 Going out and meeting the physical and emotional needs of others. It does appear that it is what being a Christian is all about. As you learn and grow in the things of God these actions will become more a part of your make-up. Your heart that is being changed by walking with God will exhibit these type of works from a willing heart. You need to understand though that this is not a fast when doing these from your heart. The fast comes in when you extend yourself beyond what you want to do in your heart. It is denying self to help others. It is going beyond your comfort zone that you enter the world of fasting. The reason for doing this... "So that your voice will be heard on high."
When prayer is not enough
As a Christian you discover that you have ceased to grow as a spiritual being. Your walk becomes repetitious, perhaps it is becoming stagnant. You find yourself becoming ill at times or a major disease strikes at you. Your testimony of life in Christ diminishes. Your light is going out. The attacks of others reduce your effectiveness. You pray and pray and then pray some more and nothing seems to change. Why? Sin, guilt, loss of faith or opposition is weighing you down? It is then that you need to fast. To focus on God and the things of God. No longer to afflict the soul as those who have done in ages past. It is time to take what is written here in Isaiah and put feet to your fast. Time to put into action verses 6 & 7.
...And what will occur vs 8 Then
your light shall break forth like the morning,
His Holy Spirit will begin to fall upon you that you may gain the power to walk in the way of God. His Holy Spirit will begin to bubble up within you as an artesian well giving you the water of life. Your spirit will be refreshed by the wind of God. Your light shall break forth and others will see the light, come to the light, take of your light and walk in the light of God that emanates from your life.
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
Every disease and every infirmity can now be touched by the blood of Christ that came from the stripes that He received at the hands of the Romans. By His stripes you were healed and now the promise can come upon you and come upon you quickly.
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The righteousness of God will clothe you once again in robes of white and the sin that strikes at you will be washed away. His righteousness will become your robe of righteousness and its holiness shall proceed you wherever you go.
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Behind you standing firm, the glory of the Lord will be your shield, your enemies attacks will not be able to strike you a blow for He will deal with them. You will be under His protection and none will be able to harm you.
When you do those things in verse 6 & 7 , then your voice will be heard on high. .... When the Lord sees your fasting He will pour himself out upon you. Then He will hear your prayers once again and will move to answer your petitions.
29 November, 1999
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