Bible Study: Isaiah 58:1-14
In today’s lesson, God exposes a right and a wrong way to fast.
Isaiah Chapter 58
Lessons from the text
A Right and a Wrong Way to Serve God
Serving God is simple, right? You go to church on Sunday morning, maybe Sunday evening and Wednesday night, try to live a decent life, and you've done your part. Maybe you need to show up for a few singings and a few nights of revival and a then you've served the Lord.
Unfortunately, that's not how it is.
You can be as dedicated as you want to be to the rituals and activities of a obedient servant of God, but that alone is not good enough. Even fasting and sitting in ash cloth will not suffice. Why? God is not interested in actions if those actions are not also coupled with the correct intention of the heart.
God wants us to be righteous not only in appearance but also inwardly.
That means that when we give, we need to give with a generous heart, not hesitantly wondering if we can afford to let go of the item. When we fast, it is not to deprive ourselves of food or other things to make a show of how righteous we are, but it is to neglect ourselves so that we can grow closer to God. When we attend church it is not to make an appearance but to give of our time and concentration to God so that we can be fed and help further His kingdom. We read the Bible and listen to preaching so that we can hear the word, learn from it, and grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever been around someone who, when asked to do something, would do it but complain so much that you wished they would have just said no? God is the same way. He does not want your service if your heart is not in it. That is, it does no good to serve God if you are huffing and puffing about having to be there or thinking about all the other things you could be doing.
More importantly, God will not acccept your service if your heart is not right with Him. No amount of fasting, praying, church attendance, baptizing, or tithing will make one righteous in the eyes of God.
It takes repentance and the blood of Christ to make you righteous. Then, and only then, will your service to the Lord be accepted before God. Then your fasting, praying, and so forth will be acknowledged and rewarded by Him with all the promises listed in this chapter. It does not pay to serve God; it pays to serve Him with a servant’s heart who constantly seeks for His righteousness.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 God's purpose in prophecy, preaching, and teaching is to reveal the sins of people so that they can repent. One is not to sugarcoat the truth but to tell it plain and true.
2-3 The Jews of Isaiah's day do not comprehend why God is not hearing them. They are fasting, praying, and coming to God in the holy temple as He has asked them to do. In
6-14 These verses contain the purpose and principles of fasting:
When one does a continual fasting, God promises:
The Sabbath is a time of rest. It means to fast from one's work and daily routine to set aside a specific time for worshiping God. One is not to go about one's business on the Sabbath; such defiles the purpose of time set aside for God for now it is time used for personal goals or interests. It is like going over to someone's house for a visit; it would be rude and insulting to show up only to go fishing, balance ons's checkbook, or work on an assignment and not interact with the person one is visiting. Instead, one is to honor one's host by giving one's full attention and engaging in the activities of the host's choice. So, too, is one to honor God by giving Him one's full attention on the day of worship.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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