Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah. Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.
Another wow and convicting chapter. Let me encourage you to read it directly for yourself today. It’s just 14 verses.
God, through the prophet, is asking us to examine ourselves, to look at the motivations of our own heart. How often do we do spiritual things for the show of it and then complain, wonder and ask why He hasn’t answered our prayers? When talking about the spiritual discipline of fasting, for example,
“Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after? A day to show off humility?” (v5, MSG).
I’m reminded of a time when I was once asked, “What is the one thing you want to be remembered for long after you are gone?” With my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, I replied, “My humility.”
Have you ever engaged in the spiritual discipline of fasting? There have been times when I have refrained from food for my situation, for my breakthrough. Here the prophet says, no, the goal of fasting is not for our benefit: “I’ll tell you what it really means to worship the LORD. Remove the chains of prisoners who are bound unjustly, free those who are abused.” (v6, CEV).
Then… then when your heart is in the right place, when we are focused not on ourselves but on what God wants, then… “Then your light will shine like the dawning sun, and you will quickly be healed. Your honesty will protect you as you advance, and the glory of the LORD will defend you from behind.” (v8, CEV).
God reminds us of His faithfulness, how He will provide life-giving water in the dry lands. This occurs when we give of ourselves first and put His ways above our ways; when we give food to the hungry and care for the homeless, for example. When we pray for others, even our enemies, before we pray for ourselves.
One of the other ways we honor Him is via worship:
“But first, you must start respecting the Sabbath as a joyful day of worship. You must stop doing and saying whatever you please on this special day. Then you will truly enjoy knowing the Lord. He will let you rule from the highest mountains and bless you with the land of your ancestor Jacob. The Lord has spoken!” (v13-14, CEV).
Indeed. The Lord has spoken. A good word from Isaiah 58 today!
If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.