Week Four – Day 1
TODAY’S FAST – Eat like 1.1 billion others who live on less than $1.00 a day. Your meals will consist of only rice, beans and water.
Read Ecclesiastes 5:10-15.
Have you ever done the right thing for all the wrong reasons? Many times, this is the problem with religion. Christ sees this happening with the religious leaders of His day and He calls them out, stating: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6). Have you ever found yourself in this position? Maybe you are in church singing the right songs but thinking about everything else but God. Maybe you were busy doing “church things” but were doing them out of obligation or to increase other people’s opinion of you. Or maybe you allowed your faith to become meaningless exercises, rituals, and forms.
In Isaiah 58, the children of Israel are doing the right thing outwardly in fasting but have not been changed inwardly. Then they wonder why God hasn’t honored their one-day effort. God’s response is clear, “Is this not 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 to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
Ask God to break your heart for the condition of the poor, naked, and hungry around the world. Ask Him to reveal your role in satisfying the needs of the oppressed and to show you how He would have you spend yourself on behalf of the hungry.
“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.” Isaiah 58:1-2 NIV