Before you read this blog, you’ll have to read Isaiah 58:5-12. (I promise, that’s your only pre-requisite). I’ll give you a few minutes to do that …
All right! Now that we’re all on the same page, let me lend you some aid if you’re struggling like I usually do with the words of Isaiah.
I want to first preface that in The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 23:1, Christ gives us a commandment that we should “search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.” The Hebrew translation of the word search means to ascertain, examine, investigate, and ponder. So, let us search the words of Isaiah.
In preparation for a recent Sunday School lesson I taught in May at my branch, the Lord directed me to this scripture. As I began to read it, the Spirit of God fell upon me, and it revealed aspects that I had never considered.
Isaiah 58:5 begins by asking a rhetorical question and illustrating the traditional way to fast before the Lord. I want to draw your attention to the contrast in the verses that follow. It doesn’t necessarily define the customary method of fasting; rather, it presents to us a more profound technique.
What follows is, essentially, the action of serving our fellow man by lending our time and giving of ourselves. Seek out those who have yet to “break up” their “fallow ground,” as Hosea 10:12 proclaims. “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”
The necessity to extend ourselves in serving those around us is imperative. There are souls who hunger and need support from trouble and affliction. Matthew 20:28 records the words of Jesus, “the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister…” We have become Jesus’ substitutes here on earth. This should be our driving force, to minister and provide support for all.
Isaiah 58:12 concludes by saying, “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”
The option is laid before us to fast from our flesh every day. This is the objective of the saints of God, to repair and to restore. We have the opportunity to encourage those whom we come in contact with on a daily basis — “To Lend the Weary Ones a Song” (Songs of Zion No. 210).
“…it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.