Fasting and Sabbath


What has this world taught me about rest?  What a curious mix of instruction.

“Be diligent and do everything that’s expected of you!  If there is time at the end of the day you may rest.  If you do this consistently for a year, we may speak of a vacation.  If that vacation appears, then you can do what pleases you.”

This is what men call rest.  They do and do and do, so that they can do what they please.  They strike themselves hard for the sake of prosperity.  Then take what they have earned, and go and do as they please.  Is this really a prosperous rest?

In the doing of this kind of rest,  America turned away from the Sabbath when I was a boy.  The stores no longer closed and we ceased to go to church.  Is this what you call rest, America?  Yes it is.   And you live out your Sabbath every day of the week without fail.

There’s no need to throw that at you as if it is a condemnation.  That condemnation will do you no good.  For you will not turn because someone rightly accuses you.  It’s simply a truth.

And isn’t it just as well that you have tossed away the Sabbath of God, that day when you restrain yourself for an hour or two from doing the things you desire to do.  For when you kept that day you did not keep His way.  Perhaps it is good that someone finally rose up and closed the door.

The Sabbath is not Sunday.  The Sabbath is not Saturday.  The Sabbath of God is a way of life.

I will not bother to interpret it to you.  Rather, I will give you the words of God Himself.

1 “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.

2 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.

3 ‘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.

4 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.

5 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?

6 “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?

7 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?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousnessa will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9 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.”
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.  (Isaiah 58)

Perhaps a person may read this who has No desire to serve the living God.  Perhaps they will laugh and say to themselves, “This doesn’t apply to me”.  Aren’t you created also?  Doesn’t the one who created you desire you to come to him?

Now I know the gospel of the world, which is no gospel at all.  You say I will be kind to my brother and that will be enough.  But in this you are kind to your brother for no reason at all.  For you do not do these things that the Most High God may dwell in your heart.  You do these things that you may be considered a righteous man.

The pendulum of Man swings far to the left and far to the right.  From complete disobedience to a presumption of glory, the will of Man is not dependable.

Between rebellion and false humility is the Holy Lord God Almighty.  This is the place his Holy Son walked as he was among us.  The entirety of his life was for the Glory of his Father.  He did nothing to glorify Himself.

I don’t want to write a book about it.  If any man will look into these things he will learn far more than I can say.  The question is are you willing to look into these things?

By His Grace

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