"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:9-11
When I read this, I asked myself, "When is the last time I really "spent" myself in behalf of the hungry? (ESV says "pour yourself out"). Does making dinner for my family every night count? (Some nights, it seems so :-)). But then, how have I ever really helped the "oppressed". And malicious talk? ... yes, earlier today I did some of that. And yesterday, and the day before.
Sitting in darkness, feeling tired, hungry and thirsty as I often am these days (and I mean more than physically)... do I seek a solution in the act of pouring myself out to others? Or do I go and run a hot bath or grab a bag of Twizzlers or take a nap? I have all sorts of solutions for making myself feel better... but most are not really in line with God's solutions. I think one reason for this may be that I don't agree with God that his solutions will lead me to the places I want to go. They seem so contradictory and counter-productive. ("Spend myself" when I am already completely spent? How is that?)
Recently someone very wise said to me that it is time for me to really claim the promises God has made. And I can't figure out why that is such a hard thing at times. Until I realize that my own thinking isn't always lined up with God's, as it ought to be.
God, increase my faith.