1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
· Wait just a second. God is speaking to… “saved” people???
3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
· Hummm… They sound like pretty “saved” people to me to be fasting and afflicting their souls. But they’re saying God’s not seeing what they’re doing? He’s about to answer why. Ever felt that way? I know I have. I pray, I go to church, I'm a Christian. And yet, here I am... sick, in pain, again. I've asked myself, 'What's the deal'?
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
· So the prideful part of me wants to puff up and say, wait just a second here! This no longer is talking about me. Or is it? I had to examine myself.
- But wait, what kind of God - was my next response. 2 verses. Hebrews 12:6 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." and Proverbs 3:12 "For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."
- And so God asks, rightfully so, what is a fast anyway? Listen:
5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
- It's like He's saying, did I ask you to afflict your soul? Meaning who cares that you go through your little motions. You go to church? Big whoop. You pray? You fast? You tithe? Okay, let's throw a parade. But listen, what kind of fast did I (God) choose?
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?
7 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?
· *Hard swallow* Now my mind is whirling.
- So then if we fast “for real”, guess what happens?
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.
9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
10 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:
11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
· Do you realize what this means?!?! When you fast, no longer do you feel like God doesn’t see! When your soul is afflicted, no longer will you go around feeling like He doesn’t care. When you cry out to Him, no longer will you feel like your cries are going unnoticed or unheard! Oh but His goodness doesn’t stop there!
12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
· Not ONLY will He answer your prayers, but then He’ll heap on promises of wondrous proportions on top of it! WHAT?!?!?! What kind of God IS this?!?
· Ephesians 3:20 – “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…”
13 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, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
· Again, He tells us look guys, stop trying to do your own thing, stop trying to be the boss, stop living selfishly, stop trying to just please yourself, please quit talking however you want to talk (and this isn’t just cursing as good “saved” people like to think, but also gossiping, or complaining, or being negative, etc). And if you will just chill with all that because:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself 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.
I thank God for His Word, even if it hurts. Even when it's not what I want to hear. Because I know He only chastises those He loves! He loves me. He wants the very best for me, better than I can want for myself! And it is not only His desire to answer my every prayer, and heal my every infirmity, but to do exceedingly and abundantly MORE than I could ever even imagine. He is great and marvelous and I want to delight in Him - it's the very least I could do! I want to honour Him in all my ways and not just say it. Like any relationship, saying "I love you" isn't enough. You have to actively LOVE. And that's what I want to do, God, I want to actively love you!