‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. (Isaiah 58:3 ESV)
No matter how sincere and active our vertical relationship with God is, if we neglect our horizontal relationships with others, our relationship – or more accurately – our attempt to have a relationship with God will amount to nothing.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)
The second is not less important, it is of equal importance.
This is the true fast: not only are we to humble ourselves before the Lord (vertical), we to be an instrument of God’s justice, grace, and blessing. As we learned last Sunday, to serve others.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7 NLT)
God will be with you. On our next fast, we need to consider both the vertical and horizontal.