Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen; to loose the chains
of injustice …
is one of my favorite passages.
It thrills me. It gets me all excited to stand up on my “social
gospel” soap box and explain why there is no social gospel. Why God is, and always has been a God of
Justice who desires true Shalom, wholeness, for his creation. It is
all part of one gospel.
It challenges me. Am I participating in God’s chosen fast? Do I share my food? Is anyone free because of my actions? Have I untied
any unjust cords lately or done away with some oppressive yokes? Have I ever truly spent myself on behalf of anything
let alone the hungry?
But then I pause before I start making
my list of to do’s, which is my type A tendency. It’s my wheelhouse and while I may never
truly accomplish all I see here that God has placed before me I am comfortable
being given tasks and setting out to achieve them. I look at those verses within this passage I
have sort of skipped or skimmed at the very least and I see the promises.
They are sprinkled throughout the
chapter and they include some straightforward statements and also some beautiful
God promises that if Israel fasts
His chosen fast then …
They will be healed quickly,
He will be their rear guard, He will answer their calls, He will guide
them and meet their needs.
It also says …
Your light will break forth like
the dawn; and your righteousness will go before you
Your light will rise on the darkness
and your night will become like noonday and
will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings
will find your joy in the Lord!
It strikes me that all of these
promises are a restoration as is the chosen fast. God calls Israel, calls us, to restore
creation to wholeness as he intended it and he promises to restore as
well. He promises healing of our brokenness,
protection and guidance. He promises not
only light for us but that our light will break forth like dawn and our
righteousness will go before us. Through
him we will have both light and righteousness.
That is promise I want to grab hold of!