Just wanted to share a few thoughts on this...
"Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?"
Precious brothers and sisters,
When we fast, what is our primary reason? Why do we do it? Why do you do it? To draw near to God? To get an answer from God? To grow in our spiritual walk, our maturity, our knowledge of Him, our nearness to Him? To get God's attention, to seek Him daily, to delight in approaching Him?
That was what Israel was doing...and it was selfish. Their motivating factor in fasting was all about themselves...and God called it transgression and sin in verse 1. It was not and is not acceptable to God.
"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor that are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?"
O, that when we would fast, we would truly fast, as the Lord has shown us in His word. That we would truly see the bonds of wickedness loosed in our lives and the lives of those around us. To witness the crushing burdens of sin, guilt, shame and confusion undone. To see true freedom come to the citzens of that desperate, dark kingdom, of which we once were in bondage to.
Look at them! Each one, young and old alike...without any light at all. No hope of a glimmer. they stumble over each other, crying, angry, confused, consumed with desires, twisted, perverted desires...always promising to satisfy, but leaving more empty. Under greatest oppression from the taskmaster...completely blind, groping for something substantive...darkness of blackness...fear.
We have been set free by the Son to fast, to fix our eyes upon Him, to gladly set aside the body and it's lusts, to give, give, give. We've been given all things pertaining to life and godliness, so freely have we each received, even more freely, may we give out..."to share your bread with the hungry"-physical and spiritual bread. Remember, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
"to bring the poor who are cast out to your house"-Those that Jesus came for...the spiritually sick, the spiritually handicapped, the spiritually lame, deaf, blind, prostitutes, tax-gatherers, outcasts.
Let us not hide ourselves from our own flesh, our own kind, others who are in that miserable kingdom, of which we all were a member at one time, and let us extend our very souls to them.And we will then be that light shining to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.