Isaiah 58:1-14 (NLT)
“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel of their sins!
2 Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
3 ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
4 What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
5 You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
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.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.
13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14 Then the Lord will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
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This morning I think my message is going to be kind of a continuation of the sabbath school discussion. And I’m may even find the answer to the question. The question was, you know, instead of going all the of the grumbling the complainant about or time and all this going on, what are we doing about it? What can we do about it? I think we’re all going to find the answers in the passage this morning. I think we will and it’s about fast thing. You’re going, Oh wow. messy, don’t fasting, fasting that pleases god. We’re going to learn of fasting a pleases god. You know, oftentimes we, we, the Lord speaks to us through a message by someone we hear, or sometimes it’s a word that it gives us to the spirit. But most of the time, how did you speak to us right here to this word and music. But as I am reading often, i will make notes in this passage. I made a note about some time ago just that this struck me fasting that pleases god. And do we not want to please god? Yes we do. We want to please god. So hear the word of the Lord. We’re coming from isaiah chapter 58 versus one through 14. And this is the new living translation this morning. I really like the way that it reads here the word of the Lord shout with the voice of a trumpet blast, shout aloud. Do not be timmy timid. Tell my people israel of their sins. yet they act so pious, they come to me, they come to the temple every day and seen the light to learn about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its god. They asked me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. We have fasted before you. They say, why aren’t you impressed? Imagine asking god that wired you impressed. aren’t you impressed with what on the phone? Well, let me tell you what. Right, we have been very hard on ourselves and you don’t even notice it. I will tell you why I respond. It is because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast you keep repressing your workers. What good is fasting? When you keep on fighting and quarrelling, this kind of fashion will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds, bending in the when you dress up in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think that this will please The Lord? No, this is kind of fasting i want. So that’s where I come up. The title, god’s going to say, this is what I want. This is a passing the please. As god free those who are wrongly imprisoned light and the burden of those who work for you, let the oppress go free and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry and give shelter to the homeless. Give close to those who need them and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Oh, there comes cousin joe. I’m going to hide from him right now who do not hide from relatives. You need your help then. So it’s like after you do these things, then your salvation will come like the dawn and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then will you call the Lord will answer then when you call the Lord way answer yes, I am here. He will quickly reply. Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors, feed the hungry and helps conky repeating us again. Feed the hungry help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness in a darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually give you water when you are dry and restore. In restoring your strength, you’ll be like a well watered garden, like an ever flowing spring. summer you will rebuild the deserted ruins of the of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restore of homes. Keep the sabbath day holy. Don’t, let’s capitalize at. Don’t pursue your own interest in that day. But enjoy the sabbath and speak of it with delight. As the lords holy day. We were talking about that wednesday night honor the sabbath in everything you do on that day and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you Great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance. I promise to your ancestor, jacob, i will. I, the Lord have spoken. May god add his blessings to the hearing in reading of his holy word. Let us pray. gracious, heavenly father, we do give you glory and honor and we praise you for you are worthy father. We thank you for your word. It guides us and father may your word to speak to her a hard spot of what you have forced to day, not me, but father, what you have. May it speak to her heart to day that we might more faithfully serve you, father? May you be glorified and honored through the word that is spoken the day, nor may souls be restored? May hearts be changed in or god, may we live for you the way that you would have us to live follow may. We fast and away, there would be pleasing to you, father, for your glory of your honor in jesus glorious name. amen. You know, there are many reasons many purposes for fasting. Is there not? You know, passing is part of it is it’s a, it’s a discipline itself. Control, it’s a way of expressing our dependence on god. It’s a way of drawing closer to God drawing our strength from him. It’s a way of totally focusing on god. There are so many ways we can fast. Now when I started starved before I began, did you think that that was going to be what fasting was about? What I spoke of? You know, There’s so many reasons. Back in the old testament, you see they would, they’re debating whether they want to go to war. Sometimes what would they do? They would fast, they would fast to seek an answer for god, or they pray for guidance or direction. They would fast and pray, coupled together, fast and pray. You know, there’s a wonderful example in esther about fasting. And this is for actually for protection. You’ve all read the story. Maybe you went to sight and sound and saw esther. Wonderful, wonderful play up at the sight and sound. So just a little bit of background in esther, you’re going to read about king a service. And queen vash, tie queen assures through a great celebration. I mean a celebrated for a week. There was a lot of wine that was drunk by the men and they were drunk. So near the end of the week, king assures decided that he wanted queen vash, tie to come and he wanted the show her off before all the men that had too much to drink. And she’s like, I’m not coming out before you bunch of drunk fools. This is my paraphrase. I’m not doing it. I’m not coming out. She refused the king’s command were not come out. Well, all of his officials, gr, i think it was after they’ve sobered up. Said you need to do something because all the women of the kingdom now will disobey their husbands and think it’s okay, they can get away with it. So you need to do something. So they suggested to them, you need to take the queen ship away from her. So he did, they thought we need to find a new queen. So of course they had all the beautiful women of the kingdom come. Well you know the story esther. She was a jew, she was one of and you know that she was one was chosen to be queen. And you know the story about wicked hayman. He decided he wanted to destroy all the jews because mordecai will not bow down to him. So he’s going to destroy all the jews. Well, mordecai says the esther you need go before the king on behalf of your people. Why can’t I can’t do that. Because you cannot just go in under by uninvited because you will die. He says, don’t think you’ll be excluded whenever they kill the jews. So she says this and more in ester 4 versus 15 or 16. Then as we’re told them to rip plot to mordecai, go gather all the jews who are present in su, sham and fast for me. Neither eat nor drink for 3 days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law. And if I perish, i perish. I for this is a great thing to she needed to do. And he said las fast. Let’s fasten, pray, let’s seek god’s help here. So it’s seeking god’s help was really what we’re seeking in that passage. air. fasten his way of showing that we are earnest in request in our desires. fastened as often during a time of great sorrow. Or during the time of deep repentance, for either for ourselves or for our community. It can be a time of great repentance to acknowledge our failure before god, and to seek his mercy. We know, I know there is another great example i’m going to share with you and jonah, you know the story there. The city of nineveh was a evil wicked city. And God called jonah said, I want you to go and preach to nineveh, tell them I’m going to destroy them. lesser a pen. And you know what, jonah did. He ran the other way because he didn’t want gods. He didn’t want none of it to receive god’s mercy. He wanted god to destroy them. So I’m going to run. course you know, I’m going to bring us make us most or is sure a great fish swallowed him up. Says no, you are going to nineveh. You are going, so he went and joan 3 versus 4 through 9. And jonah began to enter the city on the 1st day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, yet 40 days. And nineveh shall be overthrown. Because we know that’s what jonah was hoping for. So the people of nineveh believe god proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them than the word the king of ninon. Then the word came to the king of nineveh and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe. Covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes, and he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout and then of a by decree of the king. And his nobles saying that neither man or bees heard nor flock taste anything. Do not let them eat or drink water, but let man in beaks be covered with sackcloth and cry mightily to God. Yes, let every one turn from his evil ways and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent? And turn away from his fierce anger so that we may not perish, so that we may not perish even the king. Let, let’s fast, let’s fast let’s, that’s a fast of repentance. Let’s turn for more wickedness. On her the we, we often think that fashion is only about food. Let’s turn away from food. But you know, there’s many other things that we can fast that we can turn from. No, it, it could be music, it could be an activity we do. It could be something that this brings us comfort. We know we know we like our comfort, right? Or creature comfort? Well, maybe it’s turning from whatever that thing is that gives us comfort and having an experience, a little bit of this comfort to draw closer to God. So wealth way of telling god that you want to make him priority. I am willing to experience this to suffer this, to sacrifice this thing in order to draw closer to you, to repent or to hear what you want me to do. On this occasion. Let’s cry to God mightily for a nation. What are we going to do? Are we going to grumble, complain about the times that we are in less fast? Let’s cry to God for our nation. fasting is to be a sacrifice pro proper fashion will cost you something in Yes, it may cause this comfort great discomfort Or passing isaiah made it very clear that israel had once again sinned against god. I came up with an ackerman to define their sin problem. sap. S A P O. S stands for scenes. As in it’s seen, they seem to delight to learn about god. They only seem to they didn’t really want to a is act. They acted like a righteous nation, but yet they were not in p is pretend. They pretended that they wanted to be near god. They were a bunch good actors, warranty. I mean we know what an actor is, someone it pretends to be someone that they aren’t. They were good actors. The Lord instructed isaiah do not be timid, but shout shout with a trumpet blast. When confronting them about their sins, i believe he had to shout to get their attention. Maybe there needs to be a little shouting in our nation to get our nation’s attention for god. Not the shout to about how we stand on this or that but shout that we might hear about our sins and turn to God get our attention. They thought they were doing the right things. They thought they were in right. standing with god And that message was not just for the religious leaders. It was for the entire nation. He said, tell my people, israel, not just the scribes and pharisees are the li bites. Tell my people, israel of their sins. They acted all holy. They acted like they were devoted the god. They seem to delight in his learning. But the truth is they did not, they did not. I wonder how the Lord respond to our nation today. Would he say that we act like a righteous nation? That would never abandon the laws of god? Or would he say america has become so wicked that they don’t even act like it any more. They don’t even act like a righteous nation anymore. They blatantly and openly turn against god’s walls and his ways God, israel, god called his ro out for pretending jesus had a name for people who wanted to appear to be righteous, but really weren’t. It was whitewashed tunes. Is what he called them. It. Matthew 232728 says whoa to you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, for you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautifully outwardly. But inside are full of dead men’s bones and all on right uncleanness. Even so you also abberly, appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness whitewash. Every one know what that is. It’s a type of pain made from slake lime or chalk when I was, but a young little fellow lived on a dairy farm. The inside of the dairy barn. It is a huge barn. You could hold with 50 head academy at one time. What around the outside though, the walls were whitewashed on the inside. As you can imagine, when you have a 100 cows or in that barn twice a day, for those that don’t know cows need mill twice a day. 247. You don’t get a day off. So, but you got cows in and out that born every day with cows, you have flies and you got filter. You got dirt in the cows command like wind other stanchions and then you feed them so you feed them in milk, them all the same time. So, so you’re up front, you got bales of hay and you’re, you know, you’re feeding cows. So the wall for whitewash and you know, it with when you have just freshly white wash and they look so pretty in whiting clean. But think about what I just said. It’s made of slack, lime and chalk, or chalk. I mean, you brush against the white wash wall. I’d have a white sleeve right now by just did that to a white wash wall, because it rubs off. So it needs to be redone, so, but what it does, it covers a lot of ugly. Right. I said just thought of that beginning, right. made it short. It covers a lot of ugly. Today may we, we had column of vinyl side because we can use vinyl siding covered ata ugly one house. Right. But underneath it’s still ugly, but that’s what this white wash was inside. They were ugly. They look good on the outside, but it didn’t last very long. In the bible times this on is builders. To save money in time, they would stack bricks with no mortar and then they would whitewash it to make it look good on the outside. But without the mortar, it had no real strength. Inside their dead men boundary of deadman. So under that facade, they were bad, really bad. And that’s what whitewashed is underneath they were rotten. The people in israel were faithful to put on her sackcloth, to rub ashes all over the faces to endure that bodily affection affliction. That came with their tradition. My friends asked the problem. It was all about tradition. They had the appearance of godliness, but inside they were dead. They only did these things out of tradition. They only did these things to try to convince people they were holy. But they were not. The Lord said, this is a kind of fascinating that will please me, free. Those who are wrongfully imprison, lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppress go free. Remove the chains that bind people, share your food with the hungry, give shelter to those that are homeless, give close to those who need them, do not hide from relatives that need your help. So yes, it can cost you. It can cause you a little discomfort if you have to bring someone into your home, the keep them is going to cost you exp, if the expense of keeping them the expense of your privacy. But that’s what he says, that’s what’s passing as a pleases him. Give food to those who need it. Yes, that’s gonna cost you to what they sacrifice. It’s supposed to be. That’s what fasting is. Jesus taught them this same thing, did isaiah taught them? And Matthew 2531 through 40. When the son of man comes in his glory in all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on his throne of throne of his glory, all nations, my friends, not just israel. All nations will be gathered before him and he will separate them one from another. As a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats and he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the king will say to those on his right hand. com, you bless them my father, inherit the kingdom prepare for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me. Sounds like a lot of things from isaiah right. Then the righteous way, andrew, him saying, lord, when did we see you hungry and feed your thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in or naked and crowed, you are when did we see you sick or in prison? And come to you and it came will answer and say to them, assuredly i say to you, in as much as you did it to the one of the least of these, my brethren. You did it to me. You did it to me. My friends, that is still the kind of fasting that pleases god. There is the answer to what are we going to do about it? What can we do about it? Let’s fast in a way the places god this feed, the hungry visit. The sick take in those it many shelter help those who are in need are we fasting? A something is rarely heard of to day anymore. Isn’t it? Are we as a church? I’m not just talking about. I’m talking about the church. The church gods. church, are we fasting? Probably not like we should be. Maybe that’s the answer to the lot of the problems around us today. lot of things we’re grumbling about are we fasting? Are we loving those god puts in our place those it needs or help? Are we willing to sacrifice to share god’s love? What did jesus say? We’re daunted under him. When we help those that need or help? Maybe our for our needs begin with Creative, clean heart, a meal god. renew, a steadfast spirit within me. That’s where it begins, right? Here with me we can all say that begins with me. So let’s stop grumbling. Let’s start fasting and praying and doing following that with doin on 2 others. A men.