by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011
The beauty of Scripture for those of Christian faith is that we believe it is the Word of God. That is to say, we believe the Holy Spirit inspired various writers through the ages to write down what He wanted to speak to us. God by His nature is unchanging. This means how and what He spoke to people 5,000 years ago holds true for us today. For this reason Isaiah 58:6-12 is a beloved passage of Scripture for many.
“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, 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. 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. 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.
Consider this for a moment. If we choose to help others gain freedom from that which oppresses them (whether spiritual, emotional or physical), if we feed the hungry, help the
poor, are kind to our families, THEN our light will break forth like the dawn and our healing will quickly appear. The glory of the Lord will be our rear guard and when we call, the Lord will answer. When we cry for help, He will say, “Here am I”. When we choose to live in the freedom He desires to provide, stop accusing and gossiping and spend our time on behalf of others, then our light will rise in the darkness (in fact it won’t be dark anymore). The Lord will guide us always and our needs will be satisfied even though things might seem barren around us. He will strengthen us in our inner being. We will become like of waters of refreshing to others with water which never runs dry. We will be those who help rebuild ancient ruins and we will be called the repairers of broken walls, the restorers of streets with dwellings. WOW!
“Selah” means pause and calmly think of that. So after you read this passage from Isaiah 58 – Selah!
This passage is one of our first lines of defense against the “if only” trap. Life can be hard at times. Add to this our wrong expectations. We forget that this is earth and not heaven and easily can slip into this dangerous thought pattern which can pull us down deeper emotionally. For instance, “if only” childhood had been different; “if only” that teacher had given me a fair grade so my transcript would have qualified me for a different college; “if only” the housing market hadn’t soured; “if only” I hadn’t settled in this community; “if only” my boss understood me better. “If only….” The potential fill-in-the-blanks are infinite.
But we need to come to see our life through God’s eyes. Life here on earth will never be perfect. It is a place with good and evil where we sojourn on our way to eternity with God in heaven. There will always be brokenness here. There will always be “if only’s” for each of us. For some it will seem harder than others with seemingly bigger obstacles and seemingly higher challenges to hurdle.
Yet through all our ‘yuck’ God promises never to leave us or forsake us. (Deut. 31:8), He promises to use all things for good in light of eternity for those called according to His
purpose (Rom 8:28); He promises to heal us as we reach out to others and to use
us to rebuild that which has been broken down. He promises to hear us when we call and answer. (Jer. 33:3) And none of us has to help others in all these areas, because the work here on earth helping the next group of individuals become free of what oppresses them is not the work of one of us, but all of us each doing our part. God promises to He will lead us personally and individually in the way we are specifically to go, if we will but seek to listen, trust and step out in faith. (And there is abundant forgiveness when we mess up along the way.) How blessed are we that God’s Way is the actual Truth and all other ways of thinking a lie!
Lord, thank You that You heal our hearts and will use us to bring Your goodness and truth into the lives of others who are hurting. Thank you for giving us such good purpose no matter what we have been through. In Jesus’ name, Amen
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation.