1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to My people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek Me out; they seem eager to know My ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask Me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and You have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
You can search high and low for the word heart in today’s verses and you will not find it. However, if you look and read with an open heart you will see the verses are clearly about the condition of the heart. God wants us to know we cannot fast and call upon Him if our hearts are not right.
We can say we are fasting and make a big deal about it drawing plenty of attention to ourselves, but our we following the commands of God. Has a person fasting in such a manner really humbled himself or herself before God? Or are they simply going through the rituals and expecting God to respect the ritual and the false humility? Of course it is the latter because as God points out their fasting ends in quarreling and strife and worse. So God states the following You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. If you are merely go through the motions God says (somewhat derisively in my opinion), Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? And you know He is not pleased with your actions and what it says about the condition of your heart.
Thankfully, He continues on to give us instruction on how we might fast and please Him.
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
then Righteousness One will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.
So, today is Friday and you have the weekend ahead of you. Will you take time to go to church, enjoy some fellowship and humble yourself before God while listening to someone teach or preach on His Word?