By Brooke Holt
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 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 58:6-10
Do you want to know the way of the Lord? The way of the abundant life and blessings? If so, read this passage from Isaiah again. For the past five verses, the Lord has been exposing the hypocrisy of his people. While they went through the motions of religious life and worship, their hearts were far from the Lord. Nevertheless, they questioned the Lord – didn’t he see their plight and didn’t he care about all their religious behavior?
Instead of affirmation, the words of Isaiah for these people were words of judgement. The Lord simply didn’t care about their fasting and praying because their hearts were hard. They did not love the Lord or his people. They loved themselves and sought their good and glory, not the Lord’s.
The Lord taught a different way. His way was not about the externals of what the Israelites said, did, or wore, but rather it was about how they treated one another. The way of the Lord meant recognizing the needs of their neighbors, sharing their bread, attending to their needs, housing the homeless. It meant providing clothes for those who did not have them. The way of the Lord was not the way of personal gain and glory but about loving, caring, and serving. The Lord did not care about perfunctory ritual but about hearts set on justice being lived out among them.
Are you living in the way of the Lord? Do you see the needs of the people around you? Do you care about those who are being oppressed in this world? Are you advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves? You cannot help everyone but that does not mean that you cannot help someone. The way of the Lord is the way of love – loving him and loving his people.
How is the Lord calling you to move beyond religious practices to works of love? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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