SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
58:1 “Shout loudly! Don’t be quiet!
Yell as loudly as a trumpet!
Confront my people with their rebellious deeds;
confront Jacob’s family with their sin.
2 They seek me day after day;
they want to know my requirements,
like a nation that does what is right
and does not reject the law of their God.
They ask me for just decrees;
they want to be near God.
3 They lament, ‘Why don’t you notice when we fast?
Why don’t you pay attention when we humble ourselves?’
Look, at the same time you fast, you satisfy your selfish desires,
you oppress your workers.
4 Look, your fasting is accompanied by arguments, brawls,
Do not fast as you do today,
trying to make your voice heard in heaven.
5 Is this really the kind of fasting I want?
Do I want a day when people merely humble themselves,
bowing their heads like a reed
and stretching out on sackcloth and ashes?
Is this really what you call a fast,
a day that is pleasing to the Lord?
6 No, this is the kind of fast I want:
I want you to remove the sinful chains,
to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke,
to set free the oppressed,
and to break every burdensome yoke.
7 I want you to share your food with the hungry
and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people.
When you see someone naked, clothe them!
Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood.
8 Then your light will shine like the sunrise;
your restoration will quickly arrive;
your godly behavior will go before you,
and the Lord’s splendor will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call out, and the Lord will respond;
you will cry out, and he will reply, ‘Here I am.’
You must remove the burdensome yoke from among you
and stop pointing fingers and speaking sinfully.
10 You must actively help the hungry
and feed the oppressed.
Then your light will dispel the darkness,
and your darkness will be transformed into noonday.
11 The Lord will continually lead you;
he will feed you even in parched regions.
He will give you renewed strength,
and you will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring that continually produces water.
12 Your perpetual ruins will be rebuilt;
you will reestablish the ancient foundations.
You will be called, ‘The one who repairs broken walls,
the one who makes the streets inhabitable again.’
13 You must observe the Sabbath
rather than doing anything you please on my holy day.
You must look forward to the Sabbath
and treat the Lord’s holy day with respect.
You must treat it with respect by refraining from your normal activities
and by refraining from your selfish pursuits and from making business deals.
14 Then you will find joy in your relationship to the Lord,
and I will give you great prosperity,
and cause crops to grow on the land I gave to your ancestor Jacob.”
Know for certain that the Lord has spoken.
59:1 Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weak to deliver you;
his ear is not too deaf to hear you.
2 But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God;
your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.
3 For your hands are stained with blood
and your fingers with sin;
your lips speak lies,
your tongue utters malicious words.
4 No one is concerned about justice;
no one sets forth his case truthfully.
They depend on false words and tell lies;
they conceive of oppression
and give birth to sin.
5 They hatch the eggs of a poisonous snake
and spin a spider’s web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
a poisonous snake is hatched.
6 Their webs cannot be used for clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are sinful;
they commit violent crimes.
7 They are eager to do evil,
quick to shed innocent blood.
Their thoughts are sinful;
they crush and destroy.
8 They are unfamiliar with peace;
their deeds are unjust.
They use deceitful methods,
and whoever deals with them is unfamiliar with peace.
9 For this reason deliverance is far from us
and salvation does not reach us.
We wait for light, but see only darkness;
we wait for a bright light, but live in deep darkness.
10 We grope along the wall like the blind,
we grope like those who cannot see;
we stumble at noontime as if it were evening.
Though others are strong, we are like dead men.
11 We all growl like bears,
we coo mournfully like doves;
we wait for deliverance, but there is none,
for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For you are aware of our many rebellious deeds,
and our sins testify against us;
indeed, we are aware of our rebellious deeds;
we know our sins all too well.
13 We have rebelled and tried to deceive the Lord;
we turned back from following our God.
We stir up oppression and rebellion;
we tell lies we concocted in our minds.
14 Justice is driven back;
godliness stands far off.
Indeed, honesty stumbles in the city square
and morality is not even able to enter.
15 Honesty has disappeared;
the one who tries to avoid evil is robbed.
The Lord watches and is displeased,
for there is no justice.
16 He sees there is no advocate;
he is shocked that no one intervenes.
So he takes matters into his own hands;
his desire for justice drives him on.
17 He wears his desire for justice like body armor,
and his desire to deliver is like a helmet on his head.
He puts on the garments of vengeance
and wears zeal like a robe.
18 He repays them for what they have done,
dispensing angry judgment to his adversaries
and punishing his enemies.
He repays the coastlands.
19 In the west, people respect the Lord’s reputation;
in the east they recognize his splendor.
For he comes like a rushing stream
driven on by wind sent from the Lord.
20 “A protector comes to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their rebellious deeds,” says the Lord.
21 “As for me, this is my promise to them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is upon you, and my words, which I have placed in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth or from the mouths of your children and descendants from this time forward,” says the Lord.