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True Fasting

1“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.

Raise your voice like a trumpet.

Declare to my people their rebellion

and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.

2For day after day they seek me out;

they seem eager to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that does what is right

and has not forsaken the commands of its God.

They ask me for just decisions

and seem eager for God to come near them.

3‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,

‘and you have not seen it?

Why have we humbled ourselves,

and you have not noticed?’


“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please

and exploit all your workers.

4Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,

and in striking each other with wicked fists.

You cannot fast as you do today

and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5Is 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?


6“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?

7Is 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?

8Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.


“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10and 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.

12Your 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,

14then you will find your joy in the Lord,

and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land

and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”

The mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Holy Bible, New International Version™, NIV™
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