Saturday, September 07, 2002

"Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Ruined Homes"

Isaiah in chapter 58 tells us what we need to do if we want to earn those honored titles Repairer of the Breach and Restorer of Ruined Homes, and to help to rebuild The Lord's Church in our day.

They seek Me day after day,
they long to know My ways,
like a nation that wants to act with integrity
and not ignore the law of its God.

They ask Me for laws that are just,
they long for God to draw near:
"Why should we fast if You never see it,
why do penance if You never notice?"

Look, you do business on your fastdays,
you oppress all your workmen;
look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast
and strike the poor man with your fist.

Fasting like yours today
will never make your voice heard on high.
Is that the sort of fast that pleases Me,
a truly penitential day for men?

Hanging your head like a reed,
lying down on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call fasting,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the sort of fast that pleases Me
--- it is the LORD God who speaks ---
to break unjust fetters
and undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,
and break every yoke,
to share your bread with the hungry,
and shelter the homeless poor,

to clothe the man you see to be naked
and not turn from your own kin?
Then will your light shine like the dawn
and your wound be quickly healed over.

Your integrity will go before you
and the glory of the LORD behind you.
Cry, and the LORD will answer;
call, and He will say, "I am here."

If you do away with the yoke,
the clenched fist, the wicked word,
if you give your bread to the hungry,
and relief to the oppressed,

your light will rise in the darkness,
and your shadows become like noon.
The LORD will always guide you,
giving you relief in desert places.

He will give strength to your bones
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water
whose waters never run dry.

You will rebuild the ancient ruins,
build up on the old foundations.
You will be called "Breach-mender",
"Restorer of ruined houses".

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