Lent is usually a period of 40 days, observed by Christians from several different denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday, (this year – March 2) and ending on April 14, just before Easter. It is a period of time devoted to self-denial (i.e., “fasting” of various kinds), introspection and reflection. I have Christian friends who are observing it with the hope of increased devotion and Spiritual growth.
Interestingly, my devotional time this morning (I call it “coffee with the Lord”) included Isaiah 58… a worthy read I must say during Lent!
As I read it today, this question formed in my mind… Is it possible that what Isaiah has to say on the subject of “fasting” should be heeded as it relates to Lent?
This is not all that the chapter urges, but the following excerpt certainly should guide and challenge us…
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
“If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (From Isaiah 58:6–11 ESV)
And my prayer after reading that? Oh Lord, during this season of Lent, may the fasting I practice resemble more closely what Your word urges me to do in Isaiah 58! And the promises you give there? May they be fulfilled in my life as a result!!!