Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:9-11
The Lord is always near. Call out to Him and He will answer you. He is always there to help you in your time of need. But sometimes He withholds giving you things you desire until you make some changes.
I have read many thoughts on what removing the yoke from your midst means. Some say it is the doctrines and teachings of man, some say it means all forms of injury, but my heart feels it means to have a pure heart and don’t be hypocritical. Have a true desire for God to have mercy on you.
Don’t just look like you walk the walk, but take that step and truly walk it. Be sincere in your faith because faith without works is dead (James 1:26). More than sacrifice, more than praise, more than anything, God desires you to love each other and to reflect His love to all people. Don’t love just the people you like, but also love those you tend to reject. Love all people the same, just as God does. Go out and put your faith to work and show the love of God to others.
The second thing this scripture says is to stop the finger pointing and the wicked speaking. This brought to mind moment when my kids are fighting. If I ask about it, they point at each other and say “He/She did it.” But the one thing they don’t do is to stop and look at their own actions.
God desires us to take responsibility for our actions. When you do wrong, humble yourself and admit it, seek forgiveness and repent. If it truly is something the other person has done wrong, you should show the error with God’s word and encourage repentance and forgiveness
God also tells us to help others, who are in need. This goes back to removing the yoke. Put your cares to the side, knowing that God will help you, and go forth and serve. Put aside your selfishness and help someone in need.
Don’t wait on God to say this one or that one. A person once told me that they don’t give, unless God tells them to. I laughed at him and said, “God already did! He told you when He put that person in front of you.” Don’t judge people needs, you don’t know their heart, only God does. Just help them. Maybe God put that person there to test your faithfulness.
Though the scriptures in Isaiah 58 are teaching of fasting, I believe that these things hold true with any petition we bring to the Lord. I know God will never let his people fail, He will supply all our needs, He will keep us close and will never forsake us.
But when we have desires or things we think we need and we bring them to the Lord, we don’t need to be perfect, but we do need to have clean hearts and a pure purpose.