This is one of the most powerful chapters in all of Isaiah, I would even say in all of Scripture. The prophet removes from us any notion that all God wants is a personal relationship with him and that our relationship to our neighbor doesn’t really matter. There is so much more to a full Christian life than just a quiet time and a pietistic approach to faith. The fast that God chooses for us is not to skip meat during Lent. The fast that God chooses for us is to loose the bonds of injustice. What does that mean? Where in our legal system is there a clear injustice? What about the percentage of those who are of color who are in our criminal justice system? That counts.
What is the fast that the Lord chooses? What about undoing the thongs of the yoke. What is it that keeps people locked into their lot in life? It is in our culture and our society a system that is rigged to benefit those who are in power giving them the ability to stay in power. I know this all sounds political, but it is really just the prophet Isaiah speaking. It continues: let the oppressed go free, break every yoke, share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor into your house, when you see the naked cover them.
This is the relationship that God wants us to have with Him and with each other. This is a Matthew 25 church that wants to fast in a way that God wants us to fast by reaching out to those in need. This is acceptable to the Lord.
There is so much in this chapter. We can’t overlook vs.12 and the words which speak about our role being the repairers of the breach in society and culture. Where is the a breach, where has the fabric of society been rent? That is where we need to step in to help healing and to knit things back together again. No one likes the one who tries to knit things back together again, but that is okay, it is our job.