Begin with 2 minutes of Silence
Scripture : Isaiah 58:1-12
1Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. 3‘ Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
4Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? 6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps 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 him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
11And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 And 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 dwell in.
Devotional: Loose the Bonds of Oppression
By Curtis Merrick
God is crying out to his people to break the yoke of legalism. He wants them to be freed of the belief that doing religion will result in His favor toward them. Believing that religious activity will result in God’s favor is an enduring misconception passed through generations, but God calls us to something more. Specifically, as we enter this season of Lent, a tradition of fasting comes along with it. Many pick a trivial fast, believing that the act of abstaining from eating something or partaking in an activity is inherently bringing them closer to God. However, any given fast is neither inherently trivial nor consequential, but is driven by our hearts. Fasting because it is what we’re supposed to do will cause us to cry out “God why do you ignore me when I fast?” If, instead, we desire the glory of God to be our rearguard (protecting us from our pasts), fasting needs to be born of a desire to break the chains of wickedness and sin (in our own lives and the lives of others).
Questions to Consider:
What is one way during this lenten season that you can loose the bonds of wickedness so that the Lord answers when you call?
God, it is easy to get trapped in doing the right things for the wrong reason. Help me to search out the bonds in my life that can be loosed so that I can let the oppressed around me go free. That by fasting in a way you find acceptable, righteousness will go before me, as you continually guide me in the work of raising up the foundations of generations.
End with two minutes of silence