Daily Devotional – Tuesday, October 19, 2021
"Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.” (Isaiah 58:6-7, NLT)
Isaiah had a message for the people of Israel—“Stop pretending!” He accused them of regularly coming to the Temple to put on a show…fasting, bowing their heads in repentance, even wearing burlap and covering themselves with ashes. But it wasn’t going to achieve anything, because their actions were not a true reflection of their character. Isaiah accuses them of taking advantage of their workers and of fighting and arguing—always trying to get the most for ‘me.’ Then Isaiah tells them the changes that need to be made if they truly want God to respond to them—help others! Engage in sacrificial generosity. Stand up for the oppressed. Right wrongs done. And the really sad thing is that, if Isaiah lived today, I have a feeling his message wouldn’t change much.
Today’s world is filled with workers being taken advantage of; homelessness; human trafficking; famine; wars for dominance; persecution…and I’m sorry to say that no part of the world is immune. People are being wrongly imprisoned; taken advantage of; facing social stigmas based solely on their age, gender, race or faith; going without food, clean water, proper clothing or a place to stay; even family members cannot always be counted on to provide a helping hand. Our world, unfortunately, doesn’t sound that much different from the world of Isaiah’s time. The real question to ask ourselves today is whether we are guilty of merely possessing a ‘show’ of faith or do we have a genuine relationship with God that motivates us to make our whole lives a continuous living sacrifice for Him on a daily basis?
Putting on a show is easy—show up to church a couple of times a month, make a donation now and again, keep a Bible somewhere handy should you have time to read it, play the part when other church people are around. It’s in the day to day grind of life, that the realness of our relationship with God is proved. And in case anyone wants to try the defense of not knowing anyone in need, I’d like to suggest you take your blinders off. People in need of our help are all around us. Choosing not to see problems, doesn’t make them go away, but it may very well indicate a need for us as Christ’s followers to stop paying so much attention to self. There is a hurting world and God requires that we actively participate in being part of the solution...not adding to the problems. What might God be calling each one of us to do?
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!