Sunday 11 January 2015 (Communion and Anointing Service)
The New Year marks a new beginning of some sort for all of us. Expectedly, at the beginning of the year many of God’s children seek for direction from Him and make vital decisions. While some seek God to know what he will have them do in 2015, others seek him for blessings and anointing for the New Year. Seeking God entails prayer, fasting, studying the word and listening to Him. Those who seek God will find ISAIAH 58 a spring full of blessings on how to navigate through 2015. The entire chapter, especially verses 1-11 describes God’s chosen fast, the conditions, blessings and the results of doing a God chosen fast.
Let me quickly give a six point summary of this passage below:
* Israel’s cry about God’s indifference to their fasting and prayers, verses 1-3
* God’s response to Israel why her fast and prayers have failed to bring the expected results, verses 4-5
* God’s description and conditions for a true fast, verses 5,7,9
* The promises of God’s chosen fast, verses 8,9,11,12
* And the blessings of God’s chosen fast, verses 8,9,11,12
* God’s work and assignment to us as a result of the fast, verse 12
Just as a house is built in stages, by laying blocks one after another, God systematically describes the steps Israel has to take to enjoy his blessings and favour. For me, the climax of ISAIAH 58 is found in verses 11,12, but the promises in these two verses cannot be unless we fulfil the conditions found in verses 6,7, 9, & 10. Using the imagery of a house, I see these four verses as the foundation blocks and the pillars of a house, while verses 11 and 12 are the roof of the house.
GOD’S CONDITIONS TO ISRAEL: God’s message to Israel of what she needs to do to get his attention and favour are summarised as follows:
Loose the bands of wickedness,
Undo the heavy burdens,
Break every yoke,
Improve on the relationships with one another.
Show mercy and compassion to one another by helping the poor, the destitute, the naked and the afflicted.
Live in love with one another,
Avoid acrimony, bitterness and disunity,
Share what you have with one another,
Avoid desecrating the Sabbath
PROMISES AND BLESSINGS OF A GOD CHOSEN FAST
When Israel carries out the injunctions above, God says the following seventeen blessings should be expected:
Your light will shine like the day, verse 8.
Your health will spring forth speedily,
Your righteousness will go before you.
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call and God will answer, verse 9
When you call God will say, ‘Here I am’.
Your light will rise from obscurity, verse 10
Your darkness will be as the noon day, verse 10
The Lord will guide you continually, verse 11
He will satisfy you in drought,
He will make your bones fat,
You will be like a well-watered garden.
You will be like an unfailing spring of water.
You shall build old waste places, verse 12
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations,
You shall be called the repairer of breach,
You shall be called the restorer of paths to dwell in.
As we seek God for direction and blessings at the beginning of this new year, these promises above should give everyone of us enough motivation for personal prayers in 2015
BUILDERS, REPAIRERS AND RESTORERS
As earlier said, I consider the climax of these promises and blessings to be in verses 11 and 12. In verse 11, God promises to guide us continually, to satisfy us in drought and make us like a lush, well-tendered garden and springs of water that would hardly dry. Then in verse 12, God states what we are to be and what we are to do. “Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
Today, in every area of our society we turn to we see the need for transformers. Transformers are people like Daniel and Joseph with Christlike wisdom, skills, talents and ideas who will bring solutions to the society. Be it in the family, in the society and in the nation God is looking for builders, repairers and restorers. May God anoint us to serve in these capacities in 2015!