You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? … If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
Even now, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. … I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. … live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in very good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. … For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
This verse compilation is from Richard Stearns’ (President of World Vision) “Letter to America” found in his book, The Hole in Our Gospel (Thomas Nelson, 2009, pp 223-224).
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.