Isaiah 58

Isaiah 58 has the prophet delivering a hard realization – God’s people are sinners.  “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins”.  After all, they were going through the motions of walking in obedience.  They had the appearance of following God.  “They seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God”.

Sounds like the right stuff to do, doesn’t it?  On the surface it seems right, but underneath the spiritual façade they weren’t really following God.  They were merely going through the motions.  They were shallow in their faith.  The people didn’t understand that.  They challenged God.  “Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it”?  In their mind they were doing the right things, but God wasn’t keeping up His end of the bargain.  Then God puts the hammer down…..

Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high”.  Their actions weren’t about God at all.  It was an attempt to manipulate God.  Though their prayer was accompanied with fasting, it was still a selfish, even wicked prayer – so God did not answer.  God sees the heart, which is where our problems come from.  And He doesn’t allow us to pull His strings by our shallow actions.  We have to do it His way.

God promises blessing to those who truly worship Him.  There is amazing power at our disposal if we get our worship right.  “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer….the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire….your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in”.  That’s what is possible, but only if we get our life aligned with God.  Guzik captures these characteristics of a life that is right with God:

  • It is an enlightened life: Your light shall down in the darkness.
  • It is a guided life: The Lord will guide you continually.
  • It is a satisfied life: And satisfy your soul in drought.
  • It is a fragrant life: Like a watered garden.
  • It is a freshly sustained life: Like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
  • It is a productive, healing life: You shall build up the old waste places.

That’s what God promises to us.  It will be amazing when we get self out of the way and walk in obedience to God.

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