The Lord Be With You Today!
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?"
(The Lord says the first requirement for fasting, along with denial of food,
is to abstain from any kind of oppression.
Breaking off the yoke of oppression is a reference to freeing slaves.
The idea is also a reference to the yokes
that were fitted over the necks of oxen to carry heavy loads.
Rather than adding to people’s burdens, we are to cut off
the bindings over people who are burdened down with injustice
and to enlighten them with the Good News that sets them free of oppression.
After having just earlier upbraided His people for their religious hypocrisy,
their so-called "fasting" where, although they abstained from food,
at the same time, they treated their fellowman with contempt,
greedily striving for gain at whatever cost to others,
employing usurious rates of interest to keep people financially oppressed,
and completely missing the real intent of fasting,
which was to help them focus on the Lord and to examine their own ways
to ensure their actions were aligned with their God.
Now the Lord describes the kind of "fasting" He does expect,
fasting in the truest and holistic sense of the word.
He desires His people to accompany their fasting from food
with the kinds of actions that honor the Lord’s mercy and love toward His people,
not to add to others’ burdens, but to help free them by treating them
with the same mercy that the Lord gives us.)
May the Lord richly bless you this day!
In Christ’s love,
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