Archive for December 6th, 2008

Isaiah 58

Isaiah 58 has some really powerful truths in it today.  It is a picture of a people who seem to have it together on the surface.  They are doing what seems to be the right things, but for the wrong reasons.  Here is how Isaiah describes it: “They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people– law-abiding, God-honoring. They ask me, “What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having me on their side”.  Sounds pretty good doesn’t it.  They are worshipping and studying – they want God to be with them and on their side.  Seems good, but the next section shows that the relationship is only skin deep.  The people want the benefit of a relationship with God but don’t want to really live in a way that provides that result.

 

Isaiah tips us off when he follows the verses above with that word that always means there is more to the story….but.  He says it like this: “But they also complain”.  Now why would a people that have a deep and intimate relationship with God be complaining?  Because their heart is not in the right place.  They go through the motions to try and get the results they want but are not willing to really do the things that God requires.  Isaiah points out that it is not the appearance of fasting and deep interaction with God that matters.  It is living life in a way that makes a difference that matters.  He says it this way: “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts…sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families”.  Certainly not just a go through the motions kind of relationship.  God expects action – and meaningful action that impacts people in a significant way.  He follows up the “but” section with the “if” section.  Four times he uses the “if” word.  The old if-then story.  God’s response is somewhat dependent on our action.  If we do what He instructs, then He does what He says.  And that is a couple things in this chapter.  When you pray, GOD will answer and you’ll be free to enjoy GOD”.  A couple great reasons to walk in obedience with God.  But this one really got me excited: “Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness”.  Do you glow in the dark for Jesus?  Do people see God at work in your life day by day?  That is the result of a life that glorifies God.  So many good things are in store when we live right with Him.

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