Friday, May 1, 2009

The Fast - Isaiah 58

This is a powerful word from the LORD and needs little explanation. Hear what the LORD is saying about fasting.

Isa 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

Speak this message like a trumpet, so the people will pay attention. Show my people their transgressions and sins. They need to be aware that I am not happy with their sins.

Isa 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
Isa 58:3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

They approach me as if their sins were not in the way. They inquire of me, yet do not put away their sins or do my will. They accuse God of not hearing or responding when they fast. They fast for pleasure, to be seen of men.

Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Mat 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
Mat 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Isa 58:4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

They fast as religious form and not from the heart. As with most who are proud; the have strife and debate, for they think that they know it all.

2 Tim 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2 Tim 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

The LORD speaks a command; you shall not fast as you have been doing. We had better listen to what the LORD is saying.

Isa 58:5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

This appears to be a good thing, for the LORD does lift up the humble and he hears them. Perhaps this was more for show and not in sincerity? They were full of iniquity and sin and were doing their own pleasure. He required something from them, a change of behavior, to do his will. What is his will? He shows them his will for them.

James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Isa 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Loose the bands of wickedness, undo heavy burdens. They were imposing spiritual bondage on others and not trying to help those in need.

Mat 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Mat 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men:...

Let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke. This was the work that Jesus fulfilled when he came to show us how to live a life in obedience to the LORD.

Luke 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luke 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luke 4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
Luke 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Isa 58:7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

We will be judged on whether we have done this or not.

Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Will we be on his right hand? or his left hand, with the goats? It makes you want to do something doesn't it?

Isa 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

Wow, abundance of all good things will be ours, when we fear the LORD and do his will from a pure heart..

Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Isa 58:9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

God will here us when we fast if we do his will. Remove the spiritual oppression, the accusing and finger pointing, and the vain self centered speaking;

Isa 58:10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

Meet the needs of the hungry; speak the word of God and feed them if they lack food. Let your light shine.

Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Isa 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Isa 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

We must do his will his way. No more playing church, having fun in the house of the Lord to satisfy our sinful flesh, or the other extreme of putting others under spiritual bondage. Get serious, seek his will and do his will. Feed the sheep the word of truth, and not just empty stories about our self. Speak his words, not our own, delight in the LORD, glorify him and honor him. Magnify Jesus, the cross and his blood shed for sins.

Isa 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Psa 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Psa 37:6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Psa 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Psa 37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
Psa 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Delight thyself in the LORD, not our own pleasure and he will lift us up beyond anything we could do or experience ourselves. LORD, may we hear and obey your commands. Amen

1 comment:

Noah Dekkers said...

What's interesting is that Jesus stops the Isaiah quote at "To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD" ... when the next line in the verse in Isaiah says "And the day of vengeance of our God"... as if Jesus is saying "now is the favorable year but the year of vengeance is coming" ... and likewise Jesus preaches repentance prophetically to escape the "wrath to come" throughtout his ministry warning people of the day of judgment...