by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
The Prince of Peace, the Son of David, was announced by Isaiah. The story of his coming was proclaimed by the evangelists, each with a different emphasis. Jesus made God's kingship real in this world. Today, the kingdom is here—and it is coming.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:to loose the chains of injustice ... and break every yoke? (Isa. 58:6).
Fasting is the denial of legitimate things for the purpose of religious concentration. All who take their relationship with God seriously will practice some form of fasting now and then.
Isaiah's chapter on "true fasting" deals with this practice not as a private matter but as a cultic event, such as the Muslims observe during the month of Ramadan.
In my tradition people feel that they are really getting on the right side of God when they have "gone to church" twice or three times a week. In the same way, people in Isaiah's time thought that they were gaining God's favor by wailing and praying, wearing sackcloth, and postponing their meals until after sundown. Isaiah tells them (and us) that God is not impressed with their show of religious behavior.
If we want to please God and do what he likes, we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We should be as concerned for others and their need to get a fair deal, as we are for our own desire for a good slice of the pie. And we should not show favor to the rich and the famous—eager to drop their names and brag about the company we keep.
Or, as the New Testament puts it, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (Jas. 1:27).
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version