"...If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And Yahweh will guide you continually, satisfy your desire in scorched places, and make your bones strong. And you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt. You shall raise up the foundations of many generations. You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in." - Isaiah 58:10-12
In this chapter, the prophet Isaiah is conveying a message from God to Israel. Israel is fasting, but her fasts are not acceptable to God because of the injustice that is happening in Jewish society. The poor and the oppressed are being neglected. But if Israel turns its attention to the hungry and afflicted, several things will result:
Light in the darkness (v. 10).
Noonday in the gloom (v. 10).
Continual guidance from God (v. 11).
Strong bones (v. 11).
A society like a watered garden (v. 11).
Ancient ruins rebuilt (v. 12).
The foundations of many generations raised up (v. 12).
Breaches in the city repaired (v. 12).
Streets restored to dwell in (v. 12).
As believers, one of our responsibilities, by grace through faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is to care for the poor and the oppressed, to help those who are neglected, to speak up for the vulnerable. I like John Stonestreet's four biblical worldview applicational questions:
What is good in our culture that we must promote, protect, and celebrate?
What is missing in our culture that we must creatively contribute?
What is broken in our culture that we must restore?
What is evil in our culture that we must stop?
For me, running apologetics, worldview, and leadership camps for youth and young adults is the way I apply these verses. I believe in faith our camps will produce next generation believers who will be repairers of breaches and restorers of streets to dwell in. I look forward to seeing what God does in their lives and how he uses them.
Father, remind us to look out for the poor and the oppressed so that our prayers and fasts are acceptable to you, and so that our cities and towns thrive with life. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman