I have spent several weeks meditating on Isaiah 58. Once I get a break from studying, I hope to complete an in-depth study of the chapter. In most modern translations, it is listed under the heading, “True Fasting.” We have discussed the topic of fasting throughout the Wilderness Series, most recently here. In the previous post, we know that the prophet Isaiah included biblical justice as a requirement for a true fast.
Although the first half of Isaiah 58 is filled with chastisement, the prophet takes time to inform (or should I say, remind) the Israelites of what God requires of his people (verses 6-7, also read Psalm 35:10, Psalm 82, Psalm 146:7-9). Then he provides conditional blessings, “If you do X, then God will do Y.” Isaiah provides fives verses of conditions in verses 6-7, 9-10, and 13.
Then he provides God’s conditional promises in verses 8-9, 11-12, and 14. For those who obey him in a true fast, God promised to:
1. loose the chains of injustice (58:6)
2. untie the cords of the yoke (58:6)
3. set the oppressed free (58:6)
4. break every yoke (58:6)
5. cause my light to break forth like the dawn, my healing will quickly appear, my righteousness will go before me, and the glory of the Lord will be my rear guard (58:8)
6. answer when I call on him and respond when I cry for help (58:9a)
7. guide me always, satisfy my needs, and strengthen my frame (58:11)
All of these conditions and promises were specific to the people of Israel, yet one promise clearly narrowed my focus:
“…you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings (Is. 58:12b).”
At my first reading, I thought, “I want to be like that.” I want to repair that which has been broken and restore cities and streets where communities and people dwell. For Israel, this promise was physically fulfilled during the life and leadership of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a godly leader who helped the poor and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
Full restoration of this promise for the world comes through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18-19 and Col 1:15-23). Since Christ has made me an heir to the blessings of Abraham, I hold fast to this hope and a promise. Christ does make all things new. He does loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free, break every yoke, cause my light to break forth like the dawn, provide immediate healing, make me righteous and that is the reputation that goes before me. His glory does follow me; he answers when I cry for help. He guides me and satisfies my needs and strengthens my frame.
Because I accept these blessings and promises for me life, he will make me a repairer of broken walls and a restorer of streets with dwellings. I want to live in this hope and promise. How about you?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012