{RE:} Restored Streets

Thursday: Restored Streets

Let me give you a bit of context for today's Scripture. You may be familiar with the first half of the chapter. The nation of Israel was splintered and spiritually far from God and covenant life. The people are recorded as crying out and asking God why he does not listen when they fast and pray. God's answer is: "Is this the kind of fast I have asked of you?" He goes on to describe a people who may fast and pray, but then turn and mistreat the poor, cheat the workers out of their wages, and take advantage of others. What we will read today is God's description of the fast he desires and what will happen to Israel if they follow it.

Read: Isaiah 58:6-7 & 10-12 (NRSV)

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs 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 them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.


It is good to reflect on the restoration that God works in our own hearts and lives. When we remember the things that God has restored, our faith is strengthened and we are moved to gratitude. But the prophet Isaiah makes God's desire clear - we cannot just work out our own salvation and then live our lives without care for others. Christ came to restore our relationship with God and with each other.

Jesus doubles down on this when he names the 1st and 2nd greatest commandments (love God and love your neighbor as yourself). When pressed about love for neighbor, Jesus describes it in tangible acts of service, care, and hospitality (without any expecations).

  • How does your love of God move you to love people around you?
  • What does Isaiah's "true fast" look like for us here and now? How do we "loose chains" and "break yokes"? What does it mean to "share our bread" with the poor, really?
  • As you consider this, where do you sense anxiety or discomfort? These may be places that God wants to grow and mature you!

The promise at the end of this prophecy is this: if we do the true work of reconciliation with our neighbors, if we refuse to take advantage of others, if we resist thinking of ourselves more highly than the people around us... then we will raise up the future of many generations and be the restorer of streets! God is not the only one who does restorative work - his people are called to join with him!

This reminds me of Jeremiah 29, when he says that the exiles should "seek the peace and prosperity" of the place where they live, "for when it goes well" with that city "it will go well with you."
  • Have you considered the legacy your faith will leave? Isaiah seems to be saying that the way we love, serve, and care for others will "build generations" and last far beyond ourselves. 
  • How does our love of God and neighbor restore the streets of our communities?

Have you ever considered yourself a repairer and restorer? How do those titles change the way you think about your faith and how you live it out?

Let's be people who long to see the foundations rebuilt and the streets restored! Let's to build up foundations for generations to come! As we seek to love God, let's never forget our call to bring restoration to the people around us!


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.


Nick Tebordo - April 7th, 2022 at 4:46am

Even as we have prayed for social Justice in our community, we have prayed for Cohoes. When Terrie and I first drove through Cohoes, we were not impressed. But, from the time we heard God’s call to come here, we prayed not only for our Church but also for our community. We were involved in something we called,”Pray for the peace of Cohoes”. The Churches began to work and pray together. Wendell Williams called it a “Kingdom Mentality”. While some people said “You’ll never see Cohoes become what it used to be”, we said that was never our goal. Rather it was to see God’s design for the future of our city. It is exciting to see what God has been doing among us as curses have been broken and clouds have lifted . The “Restorer of Streets” has surely been at work among us. We are continuing to pray for revival in this city as we seek social Justice for all.

Melody - April 7th, 2022 at 5:10am

Good morning everyone! I'm with Nick today-- thank God for the broken yoke of oppression and exclusion from the back of this community. When we arrived here, Cohoes was still known as a "Sundown Town", as were Watervliet, Green Island, and basically every rust belt, working- class, mostly White town nearby. I remember befriending a woman named Barbara who attended our church back then, who was told by her family that she couldn't move to Course because it wasn't for Blacks.

But now, I can add the image of our mayor walking with BLM in the summer of 2020, just listening when members of the Black community poured out their grief and frustration in his face. That moment was pivotal for our city, I believe, just as the moment Nick repented of a sin he hadn't committed to Jonnah Masaka in Zimbabwe was pivotal in both their lives.

When we value all of the people of our neighborhoods, we see local restoration. When we recognize the sins of our forerunners, we see global restoration.

I want to say with St Francis (quoted in the prayer above), use me to bring peace! Use me to bring joy! Use me to shine a light in those dark corners!

Praise the Lord!

Susan Blais - April 7th, 2022 at 7:10am

I have always been taught, and tried to leave out the rule to “do unto others as you would have them do onto you“. And I see that that is part of what the scripture is saying. But it goes a bit further by expecting us to be a restore and repair. Lord, I pray that you would open my eyes and heart to what it is that you want us to do.

Janet Nygren - April 7th, 2022 at 7:36am

I live in a restored building in Cohoes, and it is still a work in progress. It takes a lot of resources and time to take something that is old, used for a different purpose, and broken down and make it beautiful and functional.

I have prayed since moving here last summer that I would be a light here, that I could be used by God to bring about something of his Kingdom. But I must admit that I am guilty of enjoying what is to my advantage, and shrinking away from the restoration work that is much harder--restoration of people's lives.

I am convicted by this sentence: "if we do the true work of reconciliation with our neighbors, if we refuse to take advantage of others, if we resist thinking of ourselves more highly than the people around us... then we will raise up the future of many generations and be the restorer of streets!"

I do think of myself more highly than the people around me, especially when I hear lots of foul language; see abuse of the property that has been restored; thoughtless, complaining tenants who don't respect others; breaking of rules in the lease agreement--it's easy to sit in judgment and try to hole up in the small part that I've made home. But that's not what Jesus would do. He would see the potential for restoration in the people around me, interact with them, love them, call them to what they were meant to be. That would take a lot of time and resources on my part, a transformation of me, and a willingness to engage in such Kingdom work.

Lord, help me to participate as you direct in the restoration work you have in mind in me, and through me in my building.

David Edelstein - April 7th, 2022 at 3:52pm

I think of the Biblical character Boaz as a person who pleases God's heart. He cared for the impoverished Ruth and the welfare of the widow Naomi. Through his life and that of Ruth, future generations were established leading to Jesus.




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