The Bible says in Isaiah 58:6-7, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” In this passage the Lord is talking to people who had become religious hypocrites. They were involved in ceremony and self-denial, but they still were not doing the things that pleased the Lord. Specifically Isaiah 58:6 tells us that they were involved in fasting. They were denying their own bodies the good things of life, and were thinking that by doing so they were pleasing God. But it is not wrong to enjoy the good things of life, as long as you do not go to excess. Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees because He did not fast.
The Bible says concerning Jesus in Mark 2:18, “And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?” Fasting or in other ways denying your body is not how to please God. That is why Colossians 2:21-23 is speaking against false religion that often has elements of fasting or other forms of self-denial in it, “(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” Self-denial comes from “the commandments and doctrines of men” and not from God, and self-denial is done for a “shew” to be seen of others.
What does God want us to do to please Him? This passage in Isaiah chapter 58 makes that very clear. God wants us to help others: especially those who are in need. Isaiah 58:6 tells us to do the following for others: “to loose the bands,” “to undo the heavy burdens,” “to let the oppressed go free,” and to “break every yoke.” Isaiah 58:7 speaks of the “hungry,” “the poor,” and “the naked.” Someone needs to help people who are in such difficult circumstances. Jesus loves them, and if you are going to be His servant, then you must love them too; and you must help them. The New Testament gives the same message. It says in James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-36, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
It is important to notice that the first thing that believers are told to do to help others is “to loose the bands of wickedness.” Every person on this earth has sinned, and every person is in some sense a slave to sin until the day that they are saved through faith in Jesus Christ. The only hope for an unsaved person is to get saved. And once a person is saved through Christ, that person is no longer a slave to sin. They have been set free. They have been loosed from their bonds. They are free to start doing the right thing and free to serve God. If you want to do something for other people, the best thing that you can do for anyone is to help them come to know Christ as Savior. That is why it says in Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.”
It is important to notice also that this passage in Isaiah chapter 58 cries out for freedom. That is what the loosing of binds is all about: giving people their freedom. God equates the taking away of freedom as evil. There is a battle between good and evil in this world. One of the ways in which evil is manifested is through slavery, oppression, or the domination of others. Freedom comes from God, and freedom starts with freedom from sin. Once you experience freedom from sin, you understand freedom and you become aligned with it. Once you experience freedom from sin, you become akin to freedom, and you will naturally support all other freedoms such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
The Bible says in Isaiah 58:8-14, “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
These last verses in Isaiah chapter 58 emphasize the fact that if we repent of our sins, and start doing the right thing, that there will be good benefits and good consequences to having genuine repentance. One of the lies of the devil is that you will benefit from doing wrong. That is one of the reasons that some people lie, or cheat, or steal. They think they are going to benefit from such things. Of course, the opposite is actually true. Notice all of the promises that are made to those who repent of their sins and start serving the Lord. Isaiah 58:8 says, “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.” Isaiah 58:9 says, “Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.” It promises in Isaiah 58:10-12, “then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” The last promise is in Isaiah 58:14 that says, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
There are many promises here for anyone who will turn from their sins, and start doing the right things in serving the Lord. You lose if you sin, but you benefit if you do what is right. Think about the great promises that are given here. You shall be enlightened. You shall be healthy. Your prayers shall be answered. The Lord will guide you continually. The Lord will supply your needs. The Lord will make you prosperous. Here is an interesting promise given in Isaiah 58:12, “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” First notice that there are “waste places” and there are “breaches” and there are paths that need to be restored. That is because of the failures of others. There are those who did not do what they ought to have done, who sinned, and who failed. The results of their sins are all around us in our communities and in our countries. How can these problems be fixed? Who can fix them? God can fix them, and He promises to do so if we turn from our sins and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Never say never. Never say that things are so bad that they cannot be fixed. God can do anything, and He will do great things in your life if you turn to Christ; and He will do great things in your country if enough people repent of their sins and turn to Jesus. The real problem is the sin problem, and that problem Jesus can fix because He is the Savior.
That is exactly the message in Isaiah chapter 59. The real problem is the sin problem. God can do anything, but the sin problem needs to be dealt with before the Lord is going to fix the other problems. It says in Isaiah 59:1-4, “Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.” This passage makes it very clear that one of the reasons that some people do not see answers to prayer is because of having sin in their lives. It says in Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” David also wrote in Psalms 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Do not underestimate the importance of confessing your sins. One thing is for sure, if you do confess your sins to Jesus, He will forgive you. The Bible says in First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Copyright; 2009 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved