6 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? 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. 11 The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry.
Isaiah was instructed to raise his voice like a trumpet and announce the sins of the nation. Despite the fact that the people went to the temple and sought God’s ways, their hearts were not matching their outward presentation; one would call this being hypocritical. In the words of Warren W. Wiersbe, “When we worship because it is the popular thing to do, not because it is the right thing to do, then our worship becomes hypocritical.”
According to the law, the Jews were required to observe one fast per year during the day of Atonement. However, they could fast as often as they personally preferred outside of this command. The main problem – Personal PRIDE! When no one was noticing what they were doing, they began to complain. We must rebuke the spirit of ritualism in order to experience the true heart of worship through complete humility as a Christ-follower.
I pray that the Holy Spirit awakens your family, your work, your friends, your community, this country, etc. to the true heart of worship. One must have an experience with God Himself involving inward submission to fully know true worship. This passage clearly separates selfish fasting from godly fasting as in a heart of worship.
We clearly see that caring for others (i.e., feeding the hungry, assisting the poor, and clothing the naked) are all examples of denying ourselves to care for others so that God receives the glory – there is no room for pride in this perfect equation! True fasting leads to perfect humility not egocentrism.
My prayer is that we do not become blinded by ritualism, religionism, and egocentrism. The world would reinforce and encourage such ‘isms’; however, Romans 12:2 states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Question: Where is your heart of worship?