God promises that living the faith results in joy. Living the faith changes the world. The oppressed go free, the hungry are fed, the homeless are sheltered, and the naked are clothed because they all have come to experience compassionate hearts amid cruel circumstances. God’s passion for justice and kindness is exhibited.
Faithful living changes us. God promises that “your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly.” Our relationships are healed. Our needs do not overwhelm us. We have strength for the journey with God.
The movement from complaint to promise in this passage of Isaiah is cause for hope. Our sins do not determine what the world is and what we can become. God calls us into a future where the rubble of our lives is transformed into means for vital living. We must remember that we have been instructed on what God desires of us, and then do that. The opportunities to please God are near, abundant, and within our capacities. God has promised to be near with help sufficient for all our needs.
Living the faith is not just for our immediate personal and societal well-being. We are the ancestors that either inspire or misguide coming generations. How will our witness serve as an example for those confronting ancient and new challenges? As coming generations struggle with the alienating realities of racism, classism, sexism, and isolationistic nationalism, what creative resources will they discover from us? Living the faith transports us into the future with a life-giving legacy that gains us life-giving titles: “You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.”
As we live the faith, may our hearts rest in the assurance of God’s promises.
According to another counterfeit gospel, our inward convictions about God are enough, so our actions do not really matter. Isaiah chastises his audience for being half-hearted in their religious observance. They ignore the plight of the oppressed and the poor, and by doing so they betray that they do not grasp the heart of God. The psalmist argues that the true faithful are steadfast and generous, and as a result God establishes them and their cause. The understanding of God’s view of the world, Paul writes, must be spiritually discerned, for it opposes the normal thinking of the world. In Matthew, Jesus tells his followers that living faith is shown by bringing flavor and light to the world. Otherwise, our faith is useless to those around us.
Read Isaiah 58:1-12. What can you do to be a foundation of many generations, the repairer of the breach for your community?
Read Psalm 112:1-10. How have you seen God’s blessings abound from your faithfulness? How do you remain faithful when God’s blessings seem absent?
Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. Consider the many ways wisdom comes. How do you seek to understand God’s wisdom?
Read Matthew 5:13-20. When does your faith community resist the call to be the salt of the earth and light of the world? How can you transform yourself or those around you to fulfill God’s commandments?
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