October 5 – Fasting that God Appreciates – Isaiah 58

There is an abundance of truth in today’s passage.  It begins with God telling Isaiah to preach loudly to the people about their rebellious attitude.  In verse 3, the people are asking God why He has not responded to their fasting.  God replied that he would not respond to superficial fasting.  Their fasting was self-absorbed, manipulative fasting.  God’s outline for fasting begins in verse 6.  This fasting began with the idea of social justice by relieving heavy burdens, allowing oppressed to go free, loosing bands of imposed wickedness, and breaking every yoke; which was basically “treating your neighbor as yourself.”  They needed to mend relationships with their fellow Christian brothers before coming to God.  Proper fasting begins with us being a proper neighbor.  The protests and riots would all be rectified if they would adhere to the social behavior of being more worried how we treat others instead of making sure we are treated fairly.  God also pointed out in verse 13 that these people also failed to keep the Sabbath.  Church had become unimportant to them.  They did not keep the Sabbath “Holy.”  To many Christians, Sunday has just become another day of the week.  You are sending a bold message to God by the way you act on Sunday, God’s special day of the week.  Do you work or do normal business on Sunday?  Do you set Sunday aside to make sure your actions are pleasing to God, especially on His day?  God was telling these people that they fell short in two important areas needed when asking something special from God.  1) Outward actions of being a good neighbor,  2) They failed to be faithful to church and keep the Sabbath Holy.  God was and is not interested in our excuses.  God only takes note of our actions.  Let me encourage you to implement these two areas of action in your life.  Verse 14 is a promise to those who are pleasing to God in these areas.  I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to “ride upon the high places of the earth,” feed from “the heritage of Jacob,” and delight myself “in the Lord.”