OVERVIEW: God reminds the Israelites that it’s more important to respond to him than to be religious. Attempting to please others by pretending to believe may impress people, but that strategy won’t please God.
BIG IDEA: Beware of going through the motions of faith.
KEY VERSE: Isaiah 58:4 (God to Israel)
What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.
IF GOD WROTE YOU A LETTER
Spiritual activities can be healthy and life-giving when you humble yourself and submit to my authority. Use these times to create space in your life to hear from me. I am always speaking, but when you designate time to listen to me and follow through on what I call you to do, your life will change. More than that, you will be part of seeing others impacted by my love.
However, when you go through the motions of faith, you waste your time. You will not acquire my attention in a more meaningful way simply because you fast or pray or discipline yourself somehow. I want to hear from you, and I am listening. But I am eager to listen to your request when it comes from a place of humility, not manipulation. I am not a good luck charm that serves you. I am the living God who invites you to be in a relationship with me. Seek me with a humble heart, follow my leadership, and you will enjoy a rich, purpose-filled life.
Set aside a day or half a day or a meal where you give up food and replace the time you’d use to prepare the food and eat with time to be still before God. Seek God and listen for his direction.