“The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11 NRSV
A fable, perhaps—two elderly women kept praying about the Tavern in town. They were afraid it was being a bad influence on the lives of the young men—something needed to be done. One night it burned to the ground. One of the ladies hurried to the home of the other knowing she would not have heard the news. To her surprise, she had. When asked how she responded, “I decided to put some feet to my prayers!”
Now I am not advocating such – but as our emphasis this year is on prayer, I want to make us aware that we do often need to include action with our prayers. If our neighbors are hungry we need to do more than pray for them. We need to take food to them. More examples could be given, but I know you are intelligent enough to make the connection.
The Scripture text at the top is from Isaiah 58 and the whole chapter should be read. (The Message brings this chapter home beautifully).
The promise recorded is to an Israel (people of God) who take their faith/prayers seriously and who seek justice, loose the bonds of injustice, let the oppressed go free, share their bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into their houses. It also includes the idea of working together in community – stop blaming one another and taking the responsibilities for your own actions.|
WOW! What a chapter – it could be preached on for a year and we would still have things to cover. However, for me, the emphasis is on our ability to look for ways to support, pray for, encourage and uplift one another. It calls on the people of God to be the people of God.
Isaiah probably would not be very popular today. Many still feel that we make our own way in life and well, if that is it, then live with your lot. We don't want to feel responsible for our neighbors, etc. We even don't want to pray for them some days. However Isaiah not so gently reminds us that we are the very people of God – called for a specific purpose. How we live out our mandate is important to God and to us – yes we pray—thanks for all your faithful prayers – but when we can do more than pray we are asked to. And with this comes a promise—our God is with us even in the parched lands.