Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Acceptable Fast - Isaiah 58

Isaiah 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?" v7 "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"

Here is a time when ritual is carried out in fasting. They are declaring a fast while going about their pleasures, then asking why God does not hear them.

v4 "Behold ye fast for strife and debate, and to site with the fist of wickedness; ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high."

It is pointed out to them that they cannot expect to be heard by the Lord if they are going to observe fasting while still carrying on their wickedness and ignoring the needs of those around them, even their own people.

v10 "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:"

Jesus described fasting as a private thing that should be done in secret and with a cheerful appearance.

Matthew 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. v17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; v18 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."

So, we see that fasting is a private matter of the heart with God. It is not for a show to others to illustrate how religious we are or as would be said these days, how spiritual we are. You might find it difficult to carry out a fast without explaining yourself to family. They might think you sick or something. You might say "I'm just not eating for a day or two."

v13 "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, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; v14 Then shalt thou delight thy self 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."

We are learning that worship of the Lord is a matter of the heart. There are still outward actions that signify that we are devoted to him, but they are overflow from true worship of the heart.

See Leviticus.

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