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Monday, February 08, 2016

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The prophet is proclaiming to the people God's call and intent regarding the practice of fasting. The prophet is calling out those who claim to practice righteousness but instead are pursuing their own interests. They claim to be humble but are actually serving their own purposes and oppressing their workers. This is not the kind of fast to which God calls us. For true fasting is not done for ourselves or even for God. Rather true fasting is done for the good of others. This is God's promise to us--when we share our bread with the hungry, house the homeless and cover the naked, then our light will shine forth like the dawn. God is not bargaining with us to see if we will obey. Rather it is by repairing the breach that we see again that God is already satisfying all our needs.

O God, may we be lights shining in the darkness so that all creation may be healed. Amen.

Krista Lind
Associate Dean of Student Resources and Candidacy, Luther Seminary
Master of Religious Education , 1997

Isaiah 58:1-12 (NRSV)

1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.
3 "Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?" Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers.
4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10 if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
12 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 live in.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.