These particular readings really touch my heart, because we can clearly hear ADONAI, through the Prophet Isaiah, demanding obedience - practically PLEADING with His people to repent and turn from their evil, selfish ways, and walk according to HIS Torah and HIS Will. But has humanity really done that? Are we any different from those in “biblical times?” I posit that we on VERY shaky ground today – “as in the days of Noah” when YHWH wiped out the entire earth except for the ONLY holy, obedient person alive…
11 …But me you don’t remember,
you don’t give me a thought!
I have held my peace so long
that you no longer fear me.
12 I will expose your [so-called] ‘righteousness’;
and what you have done won’t help you.
13 When you cry, will those [idols] you gathered rescue you?
The wind will carry them all away,
a puff of air will take them off.
But whoever takes refuge in me will possess
the land and inherit my holy mountain.”
14 Then he will say,
“Keep building! Keep building! Clear the way!
Remove everything blocking my people’s path!”
15 For thus says the High, Exalted One
who lives forever, whose name is Holy:
“I live in the high and holy place
but also with the broken and humble,
in order to revive the spirit of the humble
and revive the hearts of the broken ones.
16 For I will not fight them forever
or always nurse my anger;
otherwise their spirits would faint before me,
the creatures I myself have made.
17 It was because of their flagrant greed
that I was angry and struck them;
I hid myself and was angry,
but they continued on their own rebellious way.
18 I have seen their ways, and I will heal them;
I will lead them and give comfort
to them and to those who mourn for them —
19 I will create the right words:
‘Shalom shalom to those far off
and to those nearby!’ says Adonai;
‘I will heal them!’”
20 But the wicked are like the restless sea —
unable to be still,
its waters toss up mud and dirt.
21 There is no shalom, says my God,
for the wicked.
1 Shout out loud! Don’t hold back!
Raise your voice like a shofar!
Proclaim to my people what rebels they are,
to the house of Ya‘akov their sins.
2 “Oh yes, they seek me day after day
and [claim to] delight in knowing my ways.
As if they were an upright nation
that had not abandoned the rulings of their God,
they ask me for just rulings
and [claim] to take pleasure in closeness to God,
3 [asking,] ‘Why should we fast, if you don’t see?
Why mortify ourselves, if you don’t notice?’
“Here is my answer: when you fast,
you go about doing whatever you like,
while keeping your laborers hard at work.
4 Your fasts lead to quarreling and fighting,
to lashing out with violent blows.
On a day like today, fasting like yours
will not make your voice heard on high.
5 “Is this the sort of fast I want,
a day when a person mortifies himself?
Is the object to hang your head like a reed
and spread sackcloth and ashes under yourself?
Is this what you call a fast,
a day that pleases Adonai?
6 “Here is the sort of fast I want —
releasing those unjustly bound,
untying the thongs of the yoke,
letting the oppressed go free,
breaking every yoke,
7 sharing your food with the hungry,
taking the homeless poor into your house,
clothing the naked when you see them,
fulfilling your duty to your kinsmen!”
8 Then your light will burst forth like the morning,
your new skin will quickly grow over your wound;
your righteousness will precede you,
and Adonai’s glory will follow you.
9 Then you will call, and Adonai will answer;
you will cry, and he will say, “Here I am.”
If you will remove the yoke from among you,
stop false accusation and slander,
10 generously offer food to the hungry
and meet the needs of the person in trouble;
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your gloom become like noon.
11 Adonai will always guide you;
he will satisfy your needs in the desert,
he will renew the strength in your limbs;
so that you will be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
12 You will rebuild the ancient ruins,
raise foundations from ages past,
and be called “Repairer of broken walls,
Restorer of streets to live in.”
13 “If you hold back your foot on Shabbat
from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;
if you call Shabbat a delight,
Adonai’s holy day, worth honoring;
then honor it by not doing your usual things
or pursuing your interests or speaking about them.
14 If you do, you will find delight in Adonai —
I will make you ride on the heights of the land
and feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Ya‘akov,
for the mouth of Adonai has spoken.” – (CJB)
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