“ ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: ... Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?’ ” — Isaiah 58: 6a, 7 (NIV)
In these verses from Isaiah, God does not appear much interested in personal spiritual piety. He had brought the people of Judah back from captivity in Babylon to the Promised Land, and they thought they could please God by “bowing one’s head like a reed and ... lying on sackcloth and ashes” (verse 5). God expected more. God wanted His chosen people to show others the same mercy He had shown them. Perhaps God continues to expect more from His people in this day and age, too.
Prayer: Merciful God, You indeed have shown us much mercy, forgiving our sins and redeeming us from eternal death. Give us a willing faith to show mercy and love by feeding, housing, clothing and nurturing all those in need in our families and in our communities. Amen.
Readers are encouraged to submit their own testimonials and prayers, and leaders of all faiths are welcome to submit messages or sermons by clicking here