Isaiah 58: 2 They seek Me day after day and delight to know My ways, like a nation that does what is right and does not abandon the justice of their God. They ask Me for righteous judgments; they delight in the nearness of God.”
What a great testimony about the people of the Lord. Seeking Him daily, delighting in knowing His ways, doing right and not abandoning the justice of God! Asking for righteous judgments and to delight in the nearness of God!
It is like these wonderful sounds of Heavens, this amazing fulfilling of the conditions for God to be proud of His people!
But then, suddenly this flat tone, this disturbing noise enters the scene:
3 “Why have we fasted, but You have not seen?
We have denied ourselves, but You haven’t noticed!”
Where does this come from as all we heard was about seeking, delight, doing right and so on? Suddenly the hidden motives of the heart came to the light and turned the beauty of the ‘worship’ into a performance of the demand of having the right of answers. “We fulfilled our duty, so now it is up to You Lord!“.
So, it forced God to come forward and give the answer they not really were expecting! Those ‘simple’ and even logic words that Isaiah earlier would address as ‘arguing with your Maker‘! This one moment where the ‘clay’ starts questioning ‘the Potter’!
And the answer comes, as always, unexpected, with a ‘Look’, like God does not even raises His voice. I picture the Father, who was standing, more or less disturbed by their/our speech, sitting back and with a compassion in His voice change the conversation with a: Look, do you really want to know?
“Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast, and oppress all your workers.
4 You fast with contention and strife to strike viciously with your fist.
You cannot fast as you do today, hoping to make your voice heard on high.
5 Will the fast I choose be like this:
A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed,
and to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord?
So, what is the essence of God’s complain?
Well, mainly it is this:
You have been so long with Me, and do you still don’t know My heart?
It reminded me of this conversation of Jesus with Philip, one of His disciple:
John 14: 7 “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” 8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip?
The same sadness in the tone of His conversation, knowing that it would take dying for them to open up the way to ‘knowing’!
Isaiah 58 started with this verse:
“Cry out loudly, don’t hold back!
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Tell My people their transgression
and the house of Jacob their sins.
No, this is not a judging post, not a ‘spoiling the party’ message. It is reacting on the Heart of the Father where His love is stripping the overload of wrong motivations and where He is leading us back to the essence of our Life: Pleasing Him instead of fulfilling our duties!
And that is why He sometimes just gives us the answers we are not expecting. The adjusting of motives, the correcting of heart. The fine tuning where we lost the harmony!’
God’s Complains led Him to His dying where the correction is always about ‘Making a Way’!
Let’s Respond by dying too, by making a way us He showed us!
Isn’t the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him,
and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?
What a glorious, graceful, loving way to lead them in understanding His real answer:
8 Then your light will appear like the dawn,
and your recovery will come quickly.
Your righteousness will go before you,
and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.
9 At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer;
when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you get rid of the yoke among you,
the finger-pointing and malicious speaking,
10 and if you offer yourself to the hungry,
and satisfy the afflicted one,
then your light will shine in the darkness,
and your night will be like noonday.