“Is this not the fast that I have chosen;
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him …?” Isaiah 58:7
This verse describes a fast which is pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. What is the connection between fasting and these other actions?
The connection is the condition of the heart.
In Matthew 25:35-40 Yeshua speaks about those who will inherit the Kingdom of God. They will be the ones who fed Him when He was hungry, gave him something to drink when He was thirsty and clothed Him when He was naked. Yeshua goes on to say that those who did not do these things for Him will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Understandably, the “nations” in verse 32 and 37 will ask Yeshua when they had done all these things. His answer: “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.“
God’s desire is that we would open our hearts to the widows, orphans and needy, before we come to Him with our needs and requests.
When Paul met with the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20, he knew that he would not see them again. At that last meeting, he gave the elders tools for maintaining the congregation. In verse 35 Paul ended by telling them to remember the words of the Lord Yeshua, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” As believers in Yeshua we need to have the heart of givers, helping the needy who are all around us.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6, 9-10 we are taught that what we sow, we will also reap. One conclusion from these verses, is that when we give to the poor we give to the Lord. When we have a heart for the broken, we are not giving to the broken but to the Lord. When we give to the Lord He will multiply it, and it will bring God glory, as both the giver and the receiver give thanks to Him.
Recently the Lord touched my heart to motivate the Harvest of Asher Congregation, to reach out as individuals to the surrounding community. Each family can choose up to three families in need and give them food baskets. The members of the congregation are donating food, and from the ministry budget we will then add to what the congregants bring, to prepare food baskets. The members will then personally deliver these baskets to people who are in need, in order to be a blessing and to minister to them.
Our hope is that this will help the congregation mature as both givers and receivers. We ask that you join us in praying for God’s anointing presence to fill the homes of those who receive the baskets.
This article appeared in Israel’s Restoration newsletter, March 2018, and reposted with permission.