5 Kinds of Need

Adapted from the sermon, "Bethlehem, Break Forth Like the Dawn."

In addition to the all-important need for faith and forgiveness and personal holiness, there are other needs that Isaiah—and Jesus—are passionately concerned about.

Here are 5 kinds of human need mentioned in Isaiah 58.

1) The need for freedom from bondage and oppression. Four times in Isaiah verse 6 and once in verse 9 he hits on this.

  • Isaiah 58:6 - "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?"
  • Isaiah 58:9 - "...take away the yoke from your midst..."

2) The need for food.

  • Isaiah 58:7 - "Is it not to share your bread with the hungry..."

3) The need for housing.

  • Isaiah 58:7 - "...and bring the homeless poor into your house..."

4) The need for clothing.

  • Isaiah 58:7 - "...when you see the naked, to cover him..."

5) The need for respect.

  • Isaiah 58:9 - "...if you take away...the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness." In other words, stop accusing unjustly, belittling, and exploiting.

Isaiah preaches justice to the people of God, and Jesus displays justice to the people of God. And not only does he display the justice he expects, he suffers to cleanse and empower us, so our piety will produce a passion for social justice and practical mercy.

If it doesn’t, our piety is empty.

And if it does—if our devotion to Christ produces a passion for freeing the oppressed and feeding the hungry and housing the homeless and clothing the naked and putting away belittling talk and demeaning gestures—then we will break forth like the dawn.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.