Restoration of True Worship

A brand new lawyer in his brand new office on his first day in practice sees a prospective client walk in the door. He decides he should look busy, so he picks up the phone and starts talking: “Look, Harry, about that amalgamation deal. I think I better run down to the … More

Fasting

In Isaiah’s day Israel had become perplexed by God’s indifference toward them. They had prayed and even fasted and yet God seemed to ignore them (v. 1). They even appeared eager to know God and His ways. They attended worship services faithfully (v. 2a). They participated in worship activities (v. 2b).They had a concern about the direction of society (v. 2c). They fasted and prayed (v. 3). However all of this was hypocrisy on their part! While they apparently had all the spiritual practices evident, their personal lives indicated that their concept of spirituality was simply to get from God what they wanted rather than do for God what He wanted! And God wasn’t responding although they went through all the right exercises as far as man was concerned (v. 5)! The appearance of deep religious faith was deceptive! On the day of their fasting they would fight with each other, including fist fights (v. 4)! God isn’t interested in the appearance of spirituality, He wants the real thing!

God elaborates on His concept of a proper fast (vv. 6-14)! It Includes giving practical help to the poor and oppressed. (v. 6), sharing God’s blessings with others, (v. 7a) giving shelter to the homeless (v. 7b), clothing the naked. (v. 7c), and ministry to your own family that is in need! (v. 7d). Our prayer and fasting is only as good as our compassion for others! They ignored those around them, and so God had ignored them. He cannot respond favorably to the hard heart. God challenges them  to discover just how fast He will respond if they begin to address not only what they want, but what others need (vv. 8-14).

Application

More important than correct worship the Lord wants me to have compassion for the oppressed.

Isaiah 58:1-14 (English Standard Version)


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