Isaiah 58:8
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.

Reflections this week are by The Rev. Michael Wallens

This week we are focusing on Isaiah 58:8.

In Isaiah 58, first God made it clear that the people’s fasting was flawed and was therefore unsatisfactory (vv. 3-5). Then God made it clear what was needed (vv. 6-7). Now God outlines what the people can expect if they do, indeed, remedy injustice and free the oppressed and feed the hungry:

First, they can expect that “light shall break forth as the morning.”  To really appreciate light, one must have stumbled through darkness.  These people have done plenty of that during their long exile.

Second, they can expect healing––quick healing.

Third, they can expect that “your righteousness shall go before you” and “the glory of Yahweh shall be your rear guard.”  It is a promise of protection front and rear, and is reminiscent of the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that led the Israelites on their wilderness journey – but switched to their rear to protect them from the Egyptian army when it pursued them (Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19-20). With God as our guard, we need fear no enemy. Or, as Paul the Apostle will later say, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Questions for reflection

  • How do you hear this verse?
  • How would an asylum seeker hear this verse?
  • How would a person in detention hear this verse?
  • How would a DACA recipient hear this verse?
  • How would the Church hear this verse?


Michael Wallens is an Episcopal priest who serves five churches in the Big Bend region of Far West Texas. He also serves as co-chair of the Rio Grande Borderland Ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande (RGBM). RGBM serves people along the border from Big Bend to Arizona.

Learn more about Rio Grande Borderland Ministries

Learn more about Rio Grande Borderland Ministries of the Diocese of the Rio Grande at their website, and check out this EMM Hometown podcast episode.