AM I LIVING BY GOD’S STANDARDS?
Isaiah 58:6-8 “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? 7 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? 8 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 reward.”
Unfortunately, God’s Standards seem to vary from one believer to the next these days. Doesn’t matter what your neighbor thinks, or your preacher, or your sister or brother, or Fox News – it IS paramount to know what God’s Word says and to OBEY IT. Not just to KNOW IT. You cannot obey it if you don’t know it. Just because the above-scripture is from the Old Testament doesn’t make it null and void. God NEVER changes. Here, God is proclaiming His Standards which have not changed.
Verse 6 focuses on treating the oppressed justly.
To "undo heavy burdens" is to dissolve every oppressive debt of those who were in poverty, bankrupt or in jail because they were insolvent. In other words, it’s talking about those who were in an “impossible situation.” They owed a debt, yet were incapable of satisfying the debt. God commands us to release one of such debt/contract/impossible situation (if it is in our power to do so).
"Letting the oppressed go free" refers to forgiveness of oppressive debt and/or servitude. (See Jeremiah 34:8-22).
"Break every yoke" refers to those who were crushed, weakened or vexed—by whatever held them in any kind of bondage, where they had no ability to satisfy their creditors/debts or to support themselves—to loose (break) that bondage. (See Leviticus 26:13).
Verse 7 focuses on kindness and charity to others: feeding the hungry; providing the homeless shelter; and clothing the needy.
New Testament Scripture:
Mark 12:30-31 (KJV) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”
Matthew 18:35 “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.”
In Verse 8 of our main Scripture passage in Isaiah, God goes on to say that if we treat others according to His Standards that:
1) Our goodness will be evident to all.
2) We shall have good health.
3) Righteousness (i.e. safety, happiness, manifold blessings, presence, power and
providence of God) shall go before us.
You see, there are benefits to obeying to God. It’s important in terms of Spiritual Warfare, as disobedience can lead to giving the Enemy a foothold and/or creating a stronghold (giving demons legal right to demonize you). But God is telling us that the result of obedience is more than victory in Spiritual Battles, but also overall “general well being.”
May we be VICTORIOUS over the Enemy when he comes whispering those same old lies: “Oh, don’t worry about them. Just take care of yourself. You really don’t have the [money, time, resources, etc.] to help them”; “They got themselves into this mess, let them get out of it”; etc. THAT IS NOT GOD’S STANDARD!! Even in the New Testament we are told to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
This is God’s Truth. Take it or leave it – DEAL OR NO DEAL – Straight up—No Chaser! May we choose God’s Truth/Standards to secure victory and for all its benefits. Amen!
Holding up God’s Standards,