Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
So far this week, we have looked at identifying with the oppressed and encouraging the oppressed. Today, we will look at what it means to deliver the oppressed. In this context, to deliver means, “to rescue, to be set free or to liberate from some kind of bondage.” So, those in power are to rescue those who are being oppressed. This seems pretty straightforward. People who have the power to effect change must act on behalf of those who don’t. Israel failed to do this. What about the church today? Have we stepped in the gap to help defend the powerless? Has the church remained silent while injustice has flourished?
This is not an indictment of the church today. It is a wakeup call in light of everything that is going on in our nation. If there is any organization that should stand for the rights and wellbeing of others it should be Christ’s church. Let me be fair, there are some churches that are engaged in the thick of the fight! Praise God for those who have the courage to join the fight to eradicate injustice. But there are some churches that choose to sit on the sidelines and pretend that all is well. From the look of things, all is not well!
God does not approve of inaction. Instead He calls us to join the fight for those who are marginalized and oppressed. Paul instructs us in First Corinthians, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We bring glory to God when we reflect His character in the world. If God is concerned with the plight of the oppressed, then we should be too.
Questions to Ponder:
What are you doing to combat injustice in your community? How can you be an agent of healing during these troubling times? Heroes rescue people! Whose hero will you be today?
- Ask God to give you a heart for those around you. Ask Him to give you eyes to see others the way He does.
- Ask God to give you eyes to see injustice in your community. Ask Him to give you wisdom to come up with ways to combat that injustice.
- Ask God to help you be an agent of healing during these tough times.
God, You are all about setting the captives free. Father, I ask this week that You would change me from the inside out, as well as Your church. Empower me to walk in the freedom of Jesus Christ. Cause me to submit to others with a servant heart as well as all of us at Oak Pointe. Give us a heart to serve the people of our community and that we will see a great shift in the spiritual realm, as well as physical. I ask that as the “last becomes first” and the “first becomes last” that Thy Kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. In the Name of Jesus Christ, I ask. Amen.