The good ol’ days. Remember the good ol’ days? Whatever you’re thinking about, someone else probably has a completely different idea of what they think “the good ol’ days” are.
For my generation, in regards to music, ’90s grunge was the soundtrack to the good ol’ days–if you have that taste in music. A lot of people refer to the 1950s as the good ol’ days, but others from that generation say the 50s are too romanticized. I agree–why would I want to roll a pack of cigarrettes in my sleeve? (In my case, it would be a fake cigarrette box, since I don’t smoke.)
In the U.S., people want our country to get back to the good ol’ days. People want our country to be restored to its former glory. The problem lies in the fact that we are torn about what that means AND how to get there. Some say we need to look back to the past, while others claim we need to change for our future.
God has something to say about getting back to the good ol’ days. Read this passage. See if you can discern what God includes in the plan to get back there.
Selections from Isaiah 58:1-14:
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.
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? 7 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? 8Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear.
“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. 11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
“You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
14 Then you will find your joy in the Lord.”
Granted, this passage is written to a nation that God formed with a certain purpose. The U.S. is not Israel; we aren’t the nation formed with the salvific purpose like for why God created Israel. But I still think we can take our cues from this passage. Isaiah talks about breaking the chains of injustice. Spending ourselves on behalf of the hungry and oppressed. What if you started spending more than what you currently are on those needs? We spend so much on ourselves. I can’t help but think we might–just might–be a little less self-centered and happier as a people if we spent more on others in need.
Did you notice in that passage when people get happiness? It’s only AFTER we take care of the poor and powerless when God restores us. THOSE will be the days when people will consider them “the good ol’ days.”
So how do we live an Isaiah 58 kind of life? For starters….
Check out World Vision, which is like a department store for finding everything you’d ever want to improve in this world.
Donate to Water.org and help provide someone with clean water for life ($25 bucks!).
Open up your homes to the needy…turn on the neighborhood fire hydrant and jump in with the kids. Build relationships, look out for one another, and make some noise for the underpriveleged.
…………..AND — pray that God will open up your eyes to where God can send you to join in this restoration movement.