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Isaiah 58:9b-14 1
9b”If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 13″If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

clip_image151Background 2

The prophet Isaiah, in chapter 58, has his commission and charge renewed to reprove the sinners in Zion, particularly the hypocrites, to show them their transgressions, ver. 1. It is intended for admonition and warning to all hypocrites, and is not to be confined to those of any one age. Some refer it primarily to those at that time when Isaiah prophesied. Others to the captives in Babylon, the wicked among them, to whom the prophet had declared there was no peace. Against the terror of that word they thought to shelter themselves with their external performances, particularly their fastings, which they kept up in Babylon, and for some time after their return to their own land. The prophet therefore here shows them that their devotions would not entitle them to peace while their conversations were not at all of a piece with them. Others think it is principally intended against the hypocrisy of the Jews, especially the Pharisees before and in our Saviors’ time: they boasted of their fastings, but Christ (as the prophet here) showed them their transgressions (Matt. 23.), much the same with those they are here charged with. Observe, I. The plausible profession of religion which they made, ver. 2. II. The boasts they made of that profession, and the blame they laid upon God for taking no more notice of it, ver. 3. III. The sins they are charged with, which spoiled the acceptableness of their fasts, ver. 4, 5. IV. Instructions given them how to keep fasts aright, ver. 6, 7. V. Precious promises made to those who do so keep fasts, ver. 8-12. VI. The like precious promises made to those that sanctify Sabbaths aright, ver. 13, 14.

Biblical Truths 3

Verses 6-10 To take care of poor and weak people in society is to practise self-denial. This what the Lord calls a true fast.

  • The Lord approves of those who take care of other people in this way. They will find that the Lord takes care of them (see Luke 6:38).
  • Among his other benefits, the Lord will protect and guide. This is what he did in ancient times, by cloud and fire in the desert (see Exodus 13:21; see also Isaiah 9:2 and 60:1-3).

Verse 10 Light is at its brightest at midday.

Verse 11 In a dry land like Israel, water is essential for life. It is not just essential for people. It is essential for everything that is alive. Without water, all die.

  • Here ‘water’ is also a picture word for the Lord’s free gifts. He provides all that is good and necessary for human life (see John 4:14).
  • ‘Plenty of water’ means a supply that never ends.

Verse 12 The ‘ancient properties’ were buildings that the Babylonians had knocked down a century earlier. The people had never repaired them, although Cyrus had given the order to do so (see Isaiah 45:13).

  • To erect a building, people did not clear the ground first, as today. They simply knocked down the old property. Then they built the new building on top of the piles of rocks and stones of the old building. Because people did this,
  • Today great mounds (huge piles) mark the position of ancient towns. We call them ‘tells’. It would take many centuries to dig up the ‘tells’ of a large city like Babylon!

Verse 14 To ‘ride high in the land’ means ‘your happy life will attract favourable attention’.

  • The Lord promised to supply all that his people need (see Deuteronomy 32:13-14).

Items for Discussion

  • Isaiah calls people back to God. Look at the following questions to guide discussion:
    • How are the times of Isaiah similar to those of today?
    • How are the times different?
  • What is God willing to do for people who follow His precepts?
  • Can you think of people in today’s news who are doing what Isaiah is warning about?
  • Are there people today that are following Isaiah’s advice?
  • Do we honor the call in verse 13 today? Why or why not?

 

Luke 13:10-17
10On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” 17When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

Background 4

Christ exhorts to repentance from the case of the Galileans and others. (1-5) Parable of the barren fig-tree. (6-9) The infirm woman strengthened. (10-17) The parables of the mustard seed, and leaven. (18-22) Exhortation to enter at the strait gate. (23-30) Christ’s reproof to Herod, and to the people of Jerusalem. (31-35)

Chapter 13:10-17 – Our Lord Jesus attended upon public worship on the Sabbaths. Even bodily infirmities, unless very grievous, should not keep us from public worship on Sabbath days. This woman came to Christ to be taught, and to get good to her soul, and then he relieved her bodily infirmity. This cure represents the work of Christ’s grace upon the soul. And when crooked souls are made straight, they will show it by glorifying God. Christ knew that this ruler had a real enmity to him and to his gospel, and that he did but cloak it with a pretended zeal for the Sabbath day; he really would not have them be healed any day; but if Jesus speaks the word, and puts forth his healing power, sinners are set free. This deliverance is often wrought on the Lord’s day; and whatever labor tends to put men in the way of receiving the blessing, agrees with the design of that day.

Bible Truths 5

Verse 12 ‘Woman’ was a polite way of speaking. Jesus used the word when he spoke to his mother (John 2:4).

Verse 14 Many people opposed Jesus because he did not keep their Sabbath traditions. This incident is another example of this. The official may also have been angry that Jesus had taken no notice of his authority. He did not have the courage to speak directly to Jesus himself. Instead, he protested to the people in the synagogue.

Verses 15-16 Some people agreed with the attitude of the official. Jesus called them ‘hypocrites’. They would free their animals on the Sabbath. But they were not willing for him to free a person. God rescued the Israelites so that they were not slaves any more (Deuteronomy 5:13-15). Jesus linked this to the law about the Sabbath.

Satan had kept the woman in a ‘prison’. Jesus gave the woman her freedom. By that action Jesus was destroying the work of Satan.

Items for Discussion

  • How does Jesus’ teachings about the Sabbath differ from those in Isaiah?
  • Is there anything that society does today that does not honor the Sabbath?
  • What criteria would you use for determining whether you did something on the Sabbath or not?
  • What are the risks of making the Sabbath just like any other day of the week?
  • What are the benefits to us for setting aside one specific day a week as God asked us to do? (Look at the first verse in our Isaiah Scripture for ideas)
  • If you had to describe a perfect Sabbath, one that you enjoyed and you were sure God approved of, what would it look like?

Discussion Challenge

  • What role does each of us have in creating the perfect Sabbath for both God and our family, friends and community?
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