Sunday Morning Podcast February 1, 2015. Bro. Dave Goble.
TEXT: ISAIAH 58:1-5
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.
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.
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.
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?
What is the fast that God has chosen? What is the fast that I have chosen? God asks this question of each of us. We need to know the strategy of the fast that God has designed for His people. Not just a head knowledge, but a true understanding of what God has chosen for His people. God here in Isaiah, speaks to his people. His people sought Him daily. They had the knowledge, but along the way their fast had become corrupted. They only went so far, but ended up settling for something less than what God desired for them. They “held the truth” but in error. This resulted in the truth not bringing it’s intended results. They needed to examine why God then could not acknowledge their fast. God pointed out to them, that in their fast, they were doing it for their fleshly pursuits of (verse 4) debates, etc, instead of afflicting their soul (or humbling themselves and fasting), to know what God’s plans were. They needed to examine their hearts, to see why their endeavors could not be acknowledged. God’s people were unfairly demanding of others what God had not.
The fast God instead has chosen was for the burden to reach others for Him. In our gospel days, Jesus also instructed actions that could only derive from a fasting from our own ways. It is a fast that will bring the holiness of God into our heart. It is to reach out to souls, to lead them to Christ through the mercy of God. (Matthew 25-34-40) “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink, (34). This is the substance of what God desires us to fast for. The fasting of self, so that we can offer what God instructs. To spiritually “feed and give drink” to the thirsty and hunger of souls for spiritual life. Jesus tells us that when we do that, it is as if we do it for Him personally,( verse 40). Fasting from self, in order to examine a way to reach the “dying,” looking for spiritual help. Often lost souls are not even aware what they are seeking for. Fasting for their needs, answers the prayers for us to be instrumental in them finding God.
Is your fast that of what God has chosen?