7 Is the appropriate fast not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the poorly dressed, to cover them, and not to isolate yourself from your own family? 8 Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your healing will spring up quickly; your vindicator will go before you, the glory of Yahveh will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and Yahveh will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 10 if you offer your food to the hungry soul and satisfy the needs of the afflicted soul, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. 11 Yahveh will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. 12 Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you will raise up the foundations of many generations; you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. 13 If you refrain from trampling the Sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the Sabbath a pleasure and the holy day of Yahveh honourable; if you honour it, not taking your own roads, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; 14 then you will take pleasure in Yahveh, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the inheritance of your father Jacob, because the mouth of Yahveh has spoken.
the appropriate fast
The appropriate fast does not begin in the temple. It begins when God’s people start taking their obligations to each other seriously. If we just start there, and really live out our love for God by taking care of the needy all around us, being good neighbours to them – we will see God’s love at work. Then, when we do enter the holy place for time alone with God, we will find him there too. We will find that he has taken care of all our needs. We will appreciate those times alone with God all the more once we get our own agendas under control, and focus on him.
LORD, give us the wisdom to start our worship by serving others throughout the week. Then, may we celebrate your presence in worship without hypocrisy.