Isaiah 58: 3b-5 (A Blunt Message from God Cont’d)

Lord, I don’t want to stay where I am, I want to jump in and get soaked by the living water that is your word!!
I am continuing my journey into God’s words of Isaiah 58. Yesterday I started with verses 3-3a, today I am exploring verses 3b-5. God is just as blunt in these verses as He was in yesterday’s verses. You know what I love that about HIM!! I don’t know about you but I need that bluntness, it really gets my attention, it really stirs me!! I have read these verses from about 8 different translations and I do see the same truth in all of them. At the same time I type these words I am asking God to reveal what is “below the surface”. Lord, I don’t want to stay where I am, I want to jump in and get soaked by the living water that is your word!! I want to “get it”, to know your thoughts, your reasons, your heart, your will!! Below I have included these verses from four different translations as I did yesterday. I pray you will take the time to read and absorb the truth through at least one of these translations.
(Contemporary English Version)
3You wonder why the LORD pays no attention when you go without eating and act humble. But on those same days that you give up eating, you think only of yourselves [a] and abuse your workers. 4You even get angry and ready to fight. No wonder God won’t listen to your prayers! 5Do you think the LORD wants you to give up eating and to act as humble as a bent-over bush? Or to dress in sackcloth and sit in ashes? Is this really what he wants on a day of worship?
3-5″Well, here’s why: “The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?
(New Living Translation)
3 ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. 4 What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. 5 You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?
(New King James)
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 find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. 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?
What I see?
I see people that are very concerned about the fact that God isn’t noticing all their “outward actions” , they do not think God is giving them the credit they deserve. Lord, forgive me for I know I have rattled off my “good deeds” in my own head, did I do it for your benefit or mine? I can’t honestly say BUT I do believe it wasn’t for the right reasons. I believe the only good reason to ponder our own “good deeds” is if we are holding them up to the light of His word. I see that the Lord doesn’t want fasting (or good deeds/outward signs or worship) just for their own sake. Just the ‘act’ of fasting (or the act of outward signs of worship) doesn’t make it right, or a good thing , or a profitable thing. God requires obedience above sacrifice. If there is no true obedience (that comes from a heart full of reverent love of our Lord) in the sacrifice (the fasting, the outward deeds) than it is empty, it is useless and therefore it is NOT pleasing to the Lord!! Our Lord is so serious in getting this point across to these people (to us). To let these people know that just walking around “doing” the right thing isn’t what he wants!! He wants our heart, spirit and soul. He wants it all!! He wants substance behind the outward act of worship or obedience. He doesn’t want a people walking around going without eating (or watching t.v., or having computer time, etc..) and suffering, unless it produces some results. As a tree will not bear fruit if the seed hasn’t been planted in fertile ground and if the roots didn’t reach out and absorb some life sustaining water. There will be no true results from a life lived by only outward acts of worship or obedience that do not stem from a heart full of reverent love of our Lord!! God wants to put an end to this empty way of life! When He gives life, He gives it abundantly and this abundant life will bear fruit, it will produce results in His kingdom!!!
Oh, Lord I come to you in your son’s precious name! Please forgive me of all empty, useless actions on my part!! Move in me Lord, use me, let me be your hands and feet in this world. Fill me with a true compassion for all of your creation. Change my heart so that I will see as you see and love as you love!! I pray that everything I say or do is in true obedience to you and therefore there will be good results that will profit your kingdom!! Plant me, feed me, water me, grow me that I may bear good fruit!!
See all my other post on Isaiah 58

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