The historical backdrop for Isaiah 58 is likely the period of fasting that followed the exile. Israel complains that God has deprived them of justice. God responds by demanding Israel to stop depriving those around them of justice and righteousness! They are willing to entrust their rituals and prayers to God, but not extend their faith commitment to the social and economic spheres of their lives. To be a people of justice and righteousness means to be actively engaged in social and economic generosity and compassion for the poor and oppressed. Isaiah urges Israel, “pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted”(58:10). The phrase “pour yourself,” literally means to “pour out your soul”. Just as Jesus gave Himself for us, may we be a people who “pour out our souls” for the sake of others.
Are there ways that you participate in systems of oppression? If so, how can you begin the hard work of removing yourself from those systems?
To give generously doesn’t just include money. Do you need to advocate for someone, give your time to someone, or perhaps offer resources?