“Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord? Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in the darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
What comes to mind when you hear “repairer of the breach”? A super-hero? A construction crew hard at work? A seamstress? Let’s bring a little spiritual clarity to that term. To repair a breach means to restore or fix something that is broken. In this passage, “breach” pertained to brokenness in the relationship between God and His people. It was a break, split, rupture, or schism. A “repairer of the breach” is one who restores the right way, beginning with his or herself and their own personal breach with God.
The message here from Isaiah is that people of faith are called to fix things that are broken. It is not difficult to look around and see brokenness that needs mending. It is all around us. We have experienced it ourselves, too. The world is filled with broken hearts, broken spirits, broken people, broken relationships, broken lines of communication, broken systems, broken economy, and many other examples. The prophet wanted to help people make sense out of the bad things that were happening. He called the people to remain faithful to God amidst the calamities. He knew if people were dedicated to God, they would respond with care for the poor, with love for the oppressed, and with deep concern for all those whom society rejects and avoids. Gradually, over time, our love and compassion for one another will mend the brokenness and restore justice through the working of the Holy Spirit. May it be said about us all that we were repairers of the breach.
• What is the purpose of fasting as mentioned in the beginning verses? When was the last time you fasted? What was it from? How did it go?
• What do you see that is broken that God is calling you to help repair? Maybe a relationship or something physical?
• Ask God to help you choose to respond with godliness in everything you do.