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September 30, 2023: Haftorah - Isaiah 57:14-58:1-14

This week's Haftorah reading is from Isaiah 57:14-58:1-14. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he carefully chooses to focus on Isaiah 58, ELOHIM’S chosen fast, as we begin this joyous season of Sukkot! If we're serious about seeking more of ELOHIM, following these prescribed actions will surely be the recipe for great success in our lives!

Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah Portion:

Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Isaiah 57:14-58:1-14

In this season of joy let’s look at Elohim’s chosen fast. Adonai promises, in Isaiah 58, not only the power to overcome all of our sins but also bringing light, health, and righteousness in our lives. And, just as with the children of Israel, He promises that His glory will surround and protect each of us.

In Isaiah 58:1-5 it reveals the character of Elohim’s people who treat people differently outside the Kehillah and outside of Sabbath. This is the test of the authenticity of your fasting on Sabbath. They cry out to Elohim in Isaiah 58:3, “Why have we fasted and Thou does not see?” And Elohim answers at the end of the verse, “Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, and drive hard all your workers.” And Elohim asks in verse 5, “is it a fast like this which I choose?” Meaning: such a fast is unacceptable! Elohim even makes sport of such a fasting when He says in verse 5, “Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed?” The gestures of this self-afflicted religion are no more spiritual than a bent reed in the swamp.

Why is this fasting unacceptable to Elohim? What’s wrong with it? The problem is that the sin in their lives remained untouched…they are unchanged! The only real fasting is one that includes a spiritual attack against our own sin. Whatever else we fast for, we must fast for our own holiness! What can we fast for and hope to receive while in our own sin? So, our fast must include our own freedom from that which binds us.

What this text is emphasizing is that our action during the week is the test of whether we really are intent on attacking the sin in our lives, and therefore whether our fasting and praying and worshipping on Sabbath is real. If we are sincere on Sabbath in our prayerful opposition to the sin of our lives, then we will fight it during the week with action. We may not always succeed as fully as we would like, but we will fight our sin Sunday if our fasting was true on Sabbath.

What fast are we choosing? What is your real purpose? Is it for self-gratification or holiness? The fast that Elohim chooses is for that sin in your life to be dealt with…He tells us to “afflict ourselves” or “humble themselves.” That word simply means refrain from eating and satisfying your fleshly desires. Ironically, we are to help those who are afflicted and humbled by having not enough food, yet we eat and are full not giving one thought to those who have nothing.

In other words, your fasting and self-affliction on Sabbath is not really an attack on your own sin of injustice and hard-heartedness. Because if it were, your action on Sunday would be to alleviate the hunger and affliction of the poor, especially your own workers. Our behavior needs to change and it will if we are fasting for righteousness’ sake.

When we are living in sin—say the sin of stubbornness or deceit or injustice- the fast which Elohim chooses is not a religious covering of this sin, but a direct frontal assault against this sin. For these people fasting was not a fight against the besetting sin of their lives; it was a camouflage. If they make themselves hungry a little bit and afflict themselves, maybe it won’t matter so much that they are indifferent to the hunger and the affliction of the poor. So, Elohim comes and says, “I test your hearts. Go without bread for the sake of the poor. Give it to them. That’s the fast I choose.”

If we look in Isa. 58:6-12 we see a prescription for Elohim’s chosen fast. Let’s look at the description of the fasting itself, and then at the promises of Elohim for those who live this way. Remember the Yah of Isaiah cannot be negotiated. He is sovereign and free and gives graciously to those who trust Him. Isaiah 30:15 says, “For thus Adonai Elohim, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.” The strength to do the fast Elohim calls us to do does not come from us. It comes from Elohim! It comes through trusting Him in all things.

If we follow His prescription of fasting— “Your recovery- your healing- will speedily spring forth.” If you trust the Great Physician, and show this by obeying His instructions, you will get well. So don’t think that you are going to earn anything from Elohim. Trust His sovereign grace and follow His prescription, and you will be mightily blessed. But it will never occur to you to think that you have earned or merited anything.

Let’s look at the prescription- the fast that Elohim chooses. Isaiah 58:6 says, “Is not this the fast I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke, to divide your bread with the hungry, to cover the naked, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh.” Isaiah 58:8-9 follows with the promises of what will happen if we trust Elohim’s words. However, let’s skip over that for a moment and go to the rest of the prescription in verses 9b through 10a. If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted…

This is the fast of Elohim for the patient Israel who is sick with the disease of hypocrisy and hard-heartedness against the poor…it is our prescription from Adonai! Now, if we trust Elohim enough to follow Him in this prescribed seven-point fast, what will happen in our lives and in our Kehillah? The result would be astounding!

We will see results like: The darkness in our lives will become light. Do you want light in your life instead of gloom? Look to the gracious resources of Elohim- listen to your Adonai- and pour yourself out for another person in need.

We will also see our physical being strengthen. Who knows how much weakness is in us because we may not be pouring our energy into the weakness of others? If we follow this fasting, Elohim will be in front of us and behind us and in the midst of us with righteousness and glory. It is at that moment when you cry out, He will say, “Here I am.” When we are doing what His Son did- in the power that the Son gives- then Elohim moves in on us and behind us and in front of us and surrounds us with omnipotent love and protection and care.

If we follow this fasting, Elohim promises to guide us continually and gives that guidance because we care about the needs of others. He also will satisfy our soul. Our souls are meant to be satisfied in Elohim. But we have learned again and again that this satisfaction in Elohim comes to consummation when we extend our satisfaction in Him to others. Pouring ourselves out for the poor is the path of deeper satisfaction.

Elohim will make you a watered garden with springs that do not fail according to Isa. 58:11. It is a paradoxical spiritual principle in Scripture: as you pour yourself out, you become full. As you give away, you get more. When you re watered with Elohim’s grace you do not merely become a wet, moist, living garden, you also become a spring. We see this fulfillment in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water’ (a spring of waters that does not fail). But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.”

Finally, if we follow this fasting, that is, if we give ourselves to the poor, Elohim will restore the ruins of His city-and His people (verse 12). Like Him, we become a repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets in which to dwell.

Let’s trust the Great Physician- Adonai, our Healer. Let’s accept the fast that He has prescribed for us. It will mean light and healing and guidance and refreshment and restoration and resourcefulness- and all this with Elohim Himself before us and behind us and in the midst of us. Think about it…it doesn’t get any better than that… amen? Amen!

Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,

Join us every Wednesday at 7pm for Bible study and every Saturday at 11am for Sabbath service at:

Lion of Judah Ministries

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Blackstone, Va.

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This is the first day of Sukkot. Come and rejoice for He is good! Rejoice because He is returning! Praise Him for He is coming to rule and reign and we will rule and reign with Him. Celebrate and recognize who your Yah is! He is the Yah of Abraham, Isaac and Ya’akov. We will serve no other god for He alone is Elohim! Chag Sukkot Sameach and remember… I will see you at the altar!

Shalom Aleichem

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