1 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Tell my people Israel of their sins! 2 Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to hear my laws. You would almost think this was a righteous nation that would never abandon its God. They love to make a show of coming to me and asking me to take action on their behalf.
“They love to make a show of coming to me and asking me to take action on their behalf.” Wow, those words really sting. Yet when it comes to prayer & fasting, today’s church looks a lot like the recipents of Isaiah’s message from God. We’ve become pretty comfortable with “the show” of prayer and asking God for things, but when it comes to taking action, I’m afraid God may be a little disappointed sometimes.
I don’t know about you, but I read this and really felt convicted about the way I constantly ask for things from God and then wonder why my prayers do not get answered. This chapter gives a little insight into the dilema by providing things from God’s heart that He wants to see us doing:
- Stop oppressing your workers (verse 3 & 6)
- Stop fighting and quarrleing (verse 4)
- Stop fasting for your own glory (verse 5)
- Fast for those wrongly imprisoned (verse 6)
- Share your food with the hungry (verse 7 & 10)
- Welcome the homeless into your homes (verse 7)
- Give clothes to those who need them (verse 7)
- Do not avoid your family who need your help (verse 7)
- Stop making false accusations and spreading rumors (verse 9)
- Help those in trouble (verse 10)
- Keep the Sabath Day holy (verse 13)
I tend to ask God for alot. My prayers tend to be very self focused. Today’s reading has really hit hard and I intend to reconsider the way I fast and pray, and the things I do to help people in need – because those things also have an effect on my prayers.
The encouragement today is to look at the big picture. It’s not about fasting and praying, it’s about helping others. We need to fast and pray, but if that’s all we do – and not get in the trenches and help the poor and homeless – then why bother?
Here’s the reward for doing these things, as indicated by God through Isaiah in this chapter:
8 “If you do these things, your salvation will come like the dawn. Yes, your healing will come quickly. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. 9 Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.”
Thank You again, Lord, for your Word and how it really gets to the heart of the matter. Help me to be Christ’s hands on this earth to those who I come in contact with. Use me, Lord. Help me to have the right motivation – not to impress people, but to really help them.