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May 21 – Isaiah

In April and May, we are reading through the book of the prophet Isaiah. Its major themes are judgment, comfort, and hope, applicable to Jerusalem then in the 8th century B.C. and to us now. Join our study by reading today’s scripture below and journaling about it using SOAP (click on the “What’s SOAP?” link above to learn more). Below today’s scripture is an example SOAP from our team. We love hearing from you! Please use the comment section of our website to share your SOAP, thoughts or questions on the reading, or prayer requests. Join us as we build unity and community through God’s Word!

Isaiah 58

True Fasting

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
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,
10 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.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people 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.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

SOAP Note

Well-Watered Garden | Becky Newman

Scripture

Isaiah 58:10-11

Observation

Isaiah 58 shows the difference of heart between seeking God by just going through the motions of religious ritual vs. seeking heart change through Him. It’s not the act of fasting or obeying the Sabbath that changes our hearts and grows fruit; it is letting God work in us, to see what He sees and do what He wills in loving others that brings the garden into bloom and makes fruit. It’s letting the Living Water flow through us that brings satisfaction and good things.

Application

You moved mountains to make me see verses 10-11 this week. First, it was part of a Proverbs 31 Ministry devotion I was reading on trusting this promise of God. Then, about the same time, my neighbor sent me a text with these verses highlighted from a speaker at her church who just happened to be my fellow friend who does garden work for the poor and oppressed with Keipos. Then there was a funny object lesson that occurred between these two (that I won’t share more about here to protect all involved from embarrassment). Plus, I’ve spent each day this week watering my veggie garden and hoping for lots of fruit and good stuff to grow this summer. Now today, it’s my scheduled reading. You are so good to me! Now on to the business of why. You list the works You want of us as a how-to on loving and serving others: help the oppressed into freedom, share food with the hungry and poor, provide shelter and clothes to those who have none, maintain the needs of your family (vs. 6-7). If we do these good works, You promise healing, light, and a well-watered garden that will produce fruit. Living a life pleasing to You is not just praying and reading my Bible. As I seek You through these things, and if I’m truly seeking You with all my heart, You will change my heart; You will plow up the ground and make it ready for an abundant garden and harvest; You will make me want to do these good works, to please You and serve You and fulfill Your plan of growing fruit. It’s not so much me doing as it is You doing Your work through a willing vessel. Doing this Your way provides divine satisfaction and strengthening my back and Living Water flowing through. Doing it my way makes me weary and tired and grumpy.

Prayer

Lord, make me like a well-watered garden! I want to do Your works Your way. Please bless the work of Keipos and sharing our food with the hungry and poor, but Your way, not my way. Thank You for the volunteers who’ve been helping me this season, and thank You for strengthening my back and giving me this encouragement this week.

The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.

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