This passage beams brightly revealing the depth and beauty of God's love for those who are suffering. God speaks through the prophet Isaiah calling His people from meaningless religion to a life full of purpose helping the broken. Come discover God's priorities for our hurting world. Come discover God's calling for you. Start with reading Isaiah 58 in several Bible versions. The passage is so powerful and important that many have found it very helpful to memorize it.
The broken places of this world's suffering are exactly the place where God's glory is also being seen as people share genuine love. Explore these heartaches on your own or as a group to have more of God's heart for the world, to pray more intelligently and passionately, to find your calling and make a real difference for someone. View or print now. Scroll down to see the 19 heartaches and learn about organizations like ASAP Ministries and Child Impact who are helping. Do something to live out the love of God pictured in Isaiah 58.
Ellen White lived in the 1800s where slavery existed in America, surrounded by much poverty and disease. She actively helped, sharing her possessions and opening up her home to orphans and others. Ellen White wrote, “The whole of the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is to be regarded as a message for this time, to be given over and over again” (Welfare Ministry, 29). She saw this passage as a perfect summary of what God's people should do for the world's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. She wrote much to challenge church members to help those in need. Explore some of her many quotes where she commented on Isaiah 58 here.
See also selected passages from Ellen G. White on social responsibility in a very special compilation by Rudi Maier called Working with the Poor. Download here.
Enjoy and share this song that summarizes God's heart for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the world from Isaiah 58.
Is not this the fast - song
Enjoy Tony Evert's scripture song from Isaiah 58.
Sermons and Seminars
Right-Just-Ness by Faith- Isaiah 58 - Pastor Scott Griswold's Sermon at Conroe Seventh-day Adventist Church. Presentation begins at about 9:00.
Light in the Darkness of the World’s Needs (Isaiah 58 Part 1 - Pastor Scott Griswold, Friday Evening at Oklahoma Academy). Presentation begins at 16:47
Like a Watered Garden Green (Isaiah 58 Part 2 - Pastor Scott Griswold, Sabbath morning at Oklahoma Academy). Presentation Starts around 58:00
Connect the World’s Brokenness to Your Passion (Isaiah 58 Part 3 - Pastor Scott Griswold, Sabbath Afternoon at Oklahoma Academy). Presentation uses the Isaiah 58 Heartache Cards and is interactive. You can participate online best by opening and reading the cards above or reading below while others are in their small groups.
Our hearts break at the amount of tragedy and heartache presently in the world. The darkness is deep and systems of evil are strong. Is it possible to light sufficient candles to both relieve suffering and show that God truly cares about what is happening down here?
The life of Jesus and His prophetic mandate for His people in Isaiah 58 says Yes!
Read, cry, and intercede. Then take hopeful action.
Picture yourself owned by someone else, used at their command for no pay. There are around 40.3 million slaves in the world. Around 8 million are trapped in India, 4 million in China, 2.6 million in North Korea and over a million in Nigeria, Iran, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (globalslaveryindex.org).
Every day in America we use some of the 145 billion dollars-worth of products considered as likely “at risk” of having been made by slaves. These slave-made items especially include chocolate, electronics, clothing, cannabis, diamonds, and pornography. Often slaves are treated as disposable since they cost on average only 90 dollars (freetheslaves.net).
Are you bothered by this? Bothered enough to do something? View one of the largest collections of videos about slavery.
Jesus cries out, Loose the bonds of wickedness!
ADRA Thailand did it. They worked with thousands of migrant factory workers, stateless people, and vulnerable ethnic minorities to educate them about their rights. They advocated with business owners and the government to help those trapped in poverty. They created a shelter for people who had been trafficked.
How might you loose some evil bond with your influence, money, or career?
It is especially awful to think of children doing a job they cannot leave and being paid nothing for their hard labor. About 25% of the slaves in the world are children. Besides slavery, about 168 million children live in homes so poor they have to trudge off to work instead of study or play (ilo.org International Labour Organization). Because of poverty and war, approximately 1 in 10 boys is not in school and the numbers are a lot higher for girls. (unicef.org). This adds up to 263 million children and adolescents who are not in school, 60% of youth worldwide! It is the worst in sub-Sahara Africa (UNESCO).
Jesus pleads, Undo the heavy burdens!
ASAP Ministries did it. They found boys and girls scavenging through the garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and started a Feed and Read School to help them. ASAP finds sponsors so each child can have a free meal, a clean, bright uniform, and an education. Now their work has grown to include many schools for children among the Karen who have fled the violence in Myanmar.
Will you undo someone’s heavy burden by sponsoring a child, raising money, or working in a school for such needs?
We typically think of muscular men serving as slaves, but 71 percent are females. As part of the human family, we must start thinking of them as our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters. In this so-called modern world 1 in every 130 females is either in a forced marriage or in enslaved labor.
Many times, that prison is a prostitute’s cell. (freetheslaves.net). 2 million children are trapped in prostitution (unicef.org). The average age of a trafficked child is between ages 12-14 (liberatechildren.org). Can we possibly imagine such horror?
Jesus begs, Let the oppressed go free!
Child Impact did it. They rescued women and girls from prostitution, slave labor, and female genital mutilation. They wrapped their arms around them, providing schooling and job education.
How might you help set an oppressed woman or child free?
Approximately 1 in 7 Christians in the world suffers persecution. For 360 million of those it is significantly severe. The persecution of Christians continues to grow, rising 20% since 2014. The most violence is taking place in Sub-Saharan African countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, but especially Nigeria. Of the 6,000 Christians killed for their faith around the world just in the last year, 79% was in Nigeria, caused by Jihadist violence. Though the numbers are less, Jews, Muslims, and even Atheists are also frequently persecuted.
While we choose between going to the beach or going to church, Christians in Afghanistan long for fellowship and open worship but know they would face certain death for their faith. While we may have several dusty Bibles sitting on our shelves, 50-70,000 Christians are imprisoned in North Korea without the word of God in their hands (Open Doors).
Jesus implores, Break every yoke!
Also, the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty is advocating for religious freedom and has won court cases in behalf of people who have been discriminated against.
How can you break a yoke through your prayers, posts, and power of persuasion?
1 out of 10 people in the world (815 million) do not have enough food to sustain them. This isn’t just being hungry. It is malnutrition serious enough to cause dizziness, fatigue, stunting, delay in mental development, proneness to disease, and eventually death.
Mothers and their daughters suffer the most, making up 70% of the 1.3 billion people who struggle with severe poverty (worldhunger.org).
The average American spends close to $3,000 a year just on eating out. 3 out of 12 people in our world have to live on that to cover all their food, water, rent, and everything else. That’s about $3.20 a day per person.
Jesus demands, Share your bread with the hungry!
ADRA International did it. In 118 countries they have helped thousands of communities deal with severe emergencies such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and pandemics. They have worked closely with the locals to provide immediate food, water, and shelter while developing strategies that will provide employment and long-term solutions.
What will you go without so you can share funds for food with the desperately poor?
An estimated 100 million people are homeless, figuring out where they will sleep tonight. 1.6 billion lack adequate housing, perhaps wondering how to keep out the rain, the cold, or maybe a thief (stwr.org). The cities with the most homeless, from highest numbers down are: Manila, New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Mexico City, Jakarta, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, Budapest, and Sao Paulo (Habitat.org).
Through war, natural disasters, and persecution, the numbers of displaced people continue to grow, now surpassing over a 100 million people forcibly displaced people. That’s 1 out of 78 of our worldwide neighbors who can no longer live in their home or have their children go to their school. The situations were so bad that 27.1 million of those had to flee their countries as refugees and 41% of them were children. Two thirds come just from the hardest hit countries of Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar (unhcr.org).
Jesus urges, Bring to your house the poor who are cast out!
Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries did it. They equipped church members to welcome refugees and help them not only survive but also thrive. They also helped establish over 150 organized congregations of immigrants and refugees worshipping in North America. Reachtheworldnextdoor.com did it by equipping many through training and opportunities to help.
In what ways will you make your house, your possessions, and your heart a home for refugees and the homeless?
There are more than 149 million orphans in the world who have lost one or more parents (UNICEF.org). In 2021 alone 14.9 million became orphans because of AIDS-related causes, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Many other children live on the streets because of homelessness, extreme poverty, and conflict at home. These children are extremely vulnerable.
Around 117,000 children in America are in need of adoption. About 437,000 children are in the foster care system (adoption.org). The three countries that provide the largest numbers of international adoption are China, India, and South Korea.
Jesus calls, When you see the naked that you cover him!
International Children’s Care did it. They provide loving, Christian homes to more than 400 children in 12 countries such as India, Zambia, Guatemala, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Reach International did it. They give food, education, and lots of love to approximately 24,000 orphaned, abandoned, abused, or vulnerable children worldwide, especially in Africa.
How much of your clothing budget or other funds can you spare for children who live without adequate care and love?
The most dangerous place in the world is the womb. Abortion is the leading cause of death in the world at 73 million every year (Guttmacher.org). 2,363 babies are aborted every day in America (liveaction.org). 4 out of 10 pregnancies worldwide end up in abortion (worldometers.info). It is estimated that over 100 million girls have been wiped out through gendercide—because a boy was wanted instead (thelifeinstitute.net).
Jesus cries out, Do not hide yourself from your own flesh!
Mafgia did it. Two ladies, one who had three abortions and one who was almost aborted, started a ministry to provide guidance to those considering having an abortion and counseling and care to those who have already had one.
More than 60-70% of abortion-minded women who see an ultrasound of their baby choose to carry through with their pregnancy. Approximately $140 can provide an ultrasound for free. Learn more about various organizations which are serving and advocating for the lives of both the mother and child.
What might you do for a young lady who is trying to decide what to do with an unwanted pregnancy?
It is estimated that 1 in 3 women around the world have been subjected to physical or sexual violence, mostly by their partners and especially in lower-income areas (UN Women).
A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds in the USA. Added up in one year those children could fill ten football stadiums. The abuse of children physically, emotionally, or sexually makes a significant impact on their potential for physical and mental illnesses and a decreased lifespan (ChildHelp.org).
Jesus beseeches, Take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness!
Steve and Samantha did it. They were both harassed and abused by church leaders. With God’s help they worked through their pain and developed a ministry called Hope for Survivors to help others heal.
Jennifer Schwirzer did it. She established Abide Network which has more than 40 individuals providing virtual and in person faith-based counseling.
Find excellent information on how to avoid harassment leading to abuse online here.
What will you do to protect, comfort, and nurture someone who has been deeply hurt and betrayed?
Approximately 773 million people are illiterate and the majority are women (UNESCO). The lack of literacy can greatly impact a person’s ability to get work or provide opportunities for their family. “The single most significant thing that can be done to cure extreme poverty is this: protect, educate, and nurture girls and women, and provide them with equal rights and opportunities, educationally, economically, and socially” (The Hole in Our Gospel, Richard Stearns 156-157).
Jesus entreats, Extend your soul to the hungry!
The North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists did it. In the last twenty years they have partnered with various churches around the world to help more than 180,000 people become literate. Jose Cruz was told by his teacher he would never learn to read or write. Declared dead when he was born, Jose struggled through school because of the brain damage he suffered at birth even though he survived. His mother wouldn’t give up and found a literacy program at a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Panama. Now Jose reads, writes, and works with dignity. We can also learn how to start a literacy program.
How could you extend your soul through your money for an educational project or your time spent teaching someone who cannot read or write?
Anxiety disorders affect millions of people, including approximately 40 million in the US. Only about one third get any treatment (ADAA—Anxiety and Depression Association of America).
1 in 20 suffer depression worldwide. Depression can lead to suicide which is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. (World Health Organization). Worldwide about 800,000 people will die from suicide this next year if someone does not help them stop.
Jesus appeals, Satisfy the afflicted soul!
Beautiful Minds did it. A team of mental health professionals created a clinic to significantly help people cope and thrive through addressing needs wholistically, caring for physical, psychological, social, and spiritual factors.
Adina did it. She lost her daughter to suicide and could not find resources to cope. Later she partnered with six other suicide survivors to start the organization called SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education). They provide public awareness, education, training, and grief support.
Will you learn the telltale signs of someone contemplating suicide? In what ways can you be more of a friend who can help anxious and discouraged people find hope?
Three diseases especially kill—malaria, TB, and AIDS. These killers are mostly controlled in the richer parts of the world where the best medicines are more readily available. A low-cost treatment for TB can prolong a person’s life around 20 years.
A huge number of children under five will die today from preventable causes, things we could stop, like diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia, birth complications, and hunger. How many? Approximately 13,800 precious lives. Picture 35 Boeing 777 jumbo jets crashing today, and again tomorrow, and the next day. (unicef.org). We can learn where our help is most needed, country by country, in The State of the World’s Children.
Just because we live in a wealthier country, we are likely to live 18 years longer than the poor who lack health care.
Jesus deeply desires that Your healing shall spring forth speedily!
Canvasback Missions did it. They organize medical specialty teams to go from island to island providing completely free medical care. Besides basic wellness education, they provide surgeries and specialties in gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, dental, dermatology, urology, cardiology, and more.
FARM STEW did it. They train Christian workers around the world to help the poorest help themselves by planting life-sustaining gardens and educating in best practices for sanitation and nutrition.
How could you help someone heal speedily who is sick but has no insurance, doctor, or medical clinic?
Heart disease is a terrible killer in our world, responsible for 1 out of every 6 deaths. Smoking killed 8 million people worldwide and 1.2 million of those were by second-hand smoke. Someone dies somewhere in the world from diabetes every 5 seconds and the numbers are increasing. Alcohol use kills 3 million people annually, plus hurts millions more in many ways (ncadd.org). Over 165 million Americans abuse illicit and illegal substances (Recovered).
Jesus longs to Strengthen your bones!
Weimar Institute did it. They established an 8-part highly effective residential and online program called NEW START which helps people reverse diabetes, heart disease, and reduces the risk of many cancers through a wholistic lifestyle approach. Similar programs exist at the Ardmore Institute of Health, Black Hills Health and Education Center, Eden Valley Institute of Wellness, MEET Ministry, Uchee Pines, Wildwood Lifestyle Center, and Youngberg Clinic.
What could you do to strengthen someone to change their habits like to quit smoking, drinking, and eating unhealthful foods?
An extremely large amount of people do not have adequate water for their basic needs. 1 in 4 people in our world do not have ready access to clean drinking water and 1 in 2 do not have clean sanitation services. During the pandemic, while we continued to water our lawns and flush our toilets with clean drinking water, 3 out of 10 households in the world could not even wash their hands with soap and water (unicef.org).
So how do they survive? As Americans purchase around 50 billion water bottles each year, over “3 million children and nearly 14 million women walk more than 30 minutes to collect water,” frequently through dangerous territory and often more than once a day (worldvision.org).
Jesus promises, You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail!
Maranatha did it. They built and are maintaining over 1,000 new wells to transform villages. This in turn meant clean bathrooms and drinking water for better health, the ability to grow vegetable gardens, and time for the children to go to school. Maranatha also provides one-day churches and schools, sharing the Water of Life.
Is there a habit like drinking soda or coffee that you would be willing to give up so you could contribute towards building a well to transform the lives of villagers somewhere?
A rectangle called the 10/40 Window has been drawn across the map of North Africa, the Middle East, India, China, and Southeast Asia to help us picture the home of the poorest of the poor who are for the most part also the most unreached. 3.26 billion people in thousands of distinctly different people groups that live there have between 0 and 2% evangelical Christians. Only 4-8% of missionaries are being sent to the places of greatest need.
Jesus commissions, Build the old waste places!
Adventist Frontier Missions did it. Seeing this huge need, Clyde and Cathy Morgan started a missionary-sending organization in 1985 to plant God’s church in completely unentered areas. This pioneering work now has a very large network of church planters among the unreached.
What can you do to support others and directly build up mission work among the most unreached people?
The full Bible has been translated in 724 languages, which is only 9.7% of all languages. However, those 724 languages are read by 80% of all people. The New Testament has been translated in 1,617 languages covering another 11% of the people. Wycliffe Global Alliance estimates that at least 1,680 other languages need Bible translation.
Jesus directs, Raise up the foundations of many generations!
MyLanguageMyLife.com did it. Recognizing refugees, immigrants, international students, business travelers, and tourists are traveling from basically everywhere to everywhere, Scott Griswold partnered with ASAP Ministries and many volunteers to create a website that has Biblical resources in more than 180 languages. The site brings together the written and audio Bibles, the Jesus Film, radio and television programs, along with Bible studies and ways to find a church in your language.
What will you do to support Bible translation and place the scriptures in people’s hands to help them build a solid foundation for their lives?
In the world there are over 2 billion Muslims with the largest numbers in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. The smaller country called Maldives is 100% Muslims. Only 13% of Muslims know a Christian. 1 out of a 100 people in the United States is a Muslim.
There are about 15 million Jews in the world with Israel having around 7 million and the United States 6 million. Roughly 1 out of 10 people living in New York is Jewish.
Jesus predicts, You shall be called the Repairer of the Breach!
The Global Center for Adventist Muslim Relations and the World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Center did it, creating resources and projects to make bridges of friendship and understanding to Muslims and Jews. The Middle East and North Africa Union oversees outreach in this part of the world. The Adventist Israel Field serves Jews, Palestinians and others.
What will you do to repair the breach in God’s law, emphasizing what we have in common with Muslims and Jews, but leading them to the true safety of the Savior?
There are approximately 1.2 billion Hindus in the world. Hinduism is the primary religion in the three countries of India, Nepal, and Mauritius with millions also in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. There are also 2.5 million in the United States.
Countries with over 50% Buddhists include Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Laos, and Mongolia. China has the largest numbers at around 254 million. The United States has over 4 million. There are at least a half billion Buddhists in the world.
86% of Buddhists and Hindus have never known a Christian.
Jesus advocates, You shall be called the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In!
The Center for South Asian Religions and the Center for East Asian Religions did it. They created pamphlets, Bible studies, videos, and training manuals especially for ministry among Hindus and Buddhists.
What will you do to make a friend with a Buddhist or a Hindu, sharing love that leads them to find true peace and restoration through your friendship and with God?
Over 2 billion people claim to be Christians but many don’t follow Jesus’ commandments or example. Statistics show that such a merely nominal religion negatively impacts a person’s life.
On the other hand, more and more people are learning the truths about the Sabbath and the joy of keeping God’s commandments through the power of Jesus our advocate who serves as our high priest in heaven. In 2020 there was approximately 21.7 million Seventh-day Adventists in the world. Their work is established in 212 of the 235 countries and areas recognized by the United Nations. It sounds like a lot but that is 1 Seventh-day Adventist for every 364 people in the world, with various unreached areas have a much smaller percentage than others.
Jesus invites all to, Call the Sabbath a delight!
Adventist World Radio did it. They now have Biblical programs in over 100 languages online. Their non-internet broadcasts, such as on short-wave radios can be heard by three-quarters of the world’s population. One recent program presents Cami Oetman sharing many of these beautiful truths in a series called Unlocking Bible Prophecies. It has been watched by more than 9 million viewers.
Amazing Facts did it. They created several unique websites such as Sabbath Truth, Ghost Truth, and Bible Prophecy Truth reaching huge numbers of people with the end-time message of Revelation 14:6-12.
How will you share your faith and what will you do to prepare others for end-time events and the soon coming of Jesus?
Will you make these important commitments?
Because of love for Jesus and by His work of grace in me:
I will research a specific problem(s) and what people are doing about it. I will pray for the problem and ask for God’s guidance to help. I will continue to study God’s world vision (See Isaiah 58; 61:1-3; 65:17-25; Luke 4:16-21; Matthew 28:18-20; Revelation 14:6-12; 7:9-10; 21:3-5, 22-27 and beyond).
I will find something I can do to help this problem in the next month.
I choose a lifestyle of cross-cultural, wholistic ministry, making disciples to the coming of Jesus. I choose to die to my selfishness and rise to love, dead and alive by Jesus’ death and resurrection (See Matthew 16:24-26; John 12:24-25; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; 1 Peter 2:24; Galatians 2:20; 5:16-24; 6:14-15).
You may contact those who have prepared these materials (Scott and Julie Griswold) to discuss your calling and mission opportunities: email@example.com