Blessings of True Worship
Verse 1 – “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.
Isaiah was told by God to announce the people’s transgressions. He wanted them to know that they couldn’t truly worship God without a repentant heart.
Verse 2 – Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God.
God was aware that His people made a pretense that they wanted to know Him. They had even fasted, expecting God to do something for them. They challenged God’s silence. Do we not do the same thing when God is silent? We think He’s def to our prayers when we don’t get a fast enough response. Who are we to question God’s timing?
Verse 3 – ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you will find pleasure, and exploit all your labors.
Verse 4 – Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the first of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high.
Verse 5 – Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
God didn’t respond to their fasting because it was superficial. Maybe, just maybe, you are not getting any response to a prayer because you haven’t truly given your heart over to Him and will continue in “your ways’ instead of His.
Verse 6 – “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?
This was the reason for a legitimate fasting.
Verse 7 – Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Verse 8 – Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you ; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Verse 9 – Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing finger, and speaking wickedness,
Verse 10 – If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.
Verse 11 – The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Verse 12 – Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall rise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
God was telling them: “If your faith doesn’t reach out to others, then it lacks sincerity. Yes, fasting is beneficial spiritually, but at best, it only helps the person doing it. God wants our service to Him to go beyond our own personal growth to acts of kindness and generosity. Apply your faith to your deeds!
Verse 13 – “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words,
Verse 14 – then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
To observe the Sabbath meant turning away from self-absorbed behavior.