The burden of Isaiah was for the nation which are here called ‘transgressors’ . Transgressor means anyone who breaks the law or who oversteps the boundaries of moral rule. If God has been gracious to forgive our faults moral rule dictates that we do not judge our brethren. Israel were transgressors in the eyes of the Lord God. When Jesus Christ faulted them he like Isaiah before him would have them profit from knowing the will of his Father. Their hypocrisy was such they took offense at him.
Here the prophet is speaking what the Lord has charged him, – and it was his responsibility to speak out clear and without reservations. In short the prophet is called to do some plain speaking . Let us consider them first. “ 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 (58:2)”. They were like the elder son of the Parable of the Two Sons illustrates. Israel made much show of reverence to say yes but they would not do what He wanted. Wouldn’t modern evangelicalism similarly benefit with similar plain speaking? What they need is to see themselves as God would. It is for this reason the Bible has been written for their correction, rebuke and instruction in righteousness. It is for consolation as well. So when one is hurt for the right reasons or not it shall help him to find comfort. It is the book of life for all the right reasons.
If teachers of law themselves are transgressors one can imagine what would be the state of the congregation. It is like blind guides leading the blind and dumb. Isaiah therefore did not spare any words when he addressed them as greedy dogs. For the wrath of God when it does come shall be too awful. God alone is the judge but when such drunken shepherds judge others for their race or sexual orientations aren’t they using their moralizing tone as a cloak for their hypocrisy? God would rather chastise them while they may be corrected and set on the right path. Indeed the Righteous God is in his throne and because He is long-suffering and patient let not any one think that he shall escape judgment. The word of God says that everyone shall be measured by what measure he applies.
Fear of God is the beginning wisdom. It can be cultivated only from our knowing what God is to us. If He is our loving Father, and our love natural and spontaneous is in our response to it. Because we found mercy we shall be quick to make peace with others as best illustrative of His nature. DNA of our father’s nature must be cultivated and the Word is our food to grow thereby. Being purchased by the precious blood of God the Son is not for living as the worldly but growing into his nature. It is the fear where we are conscious: his presence and with experience we learn to understand His ways. It is the fear where we are conscious: his presence and with experience we learn to understand His ways. His grace is for building us than tear us down. If we cannot love our brethren despite of their faults are we not making ourselves greater than God? Isaiah faults the nation of Israel for piety that did not connect with heaven. Their prayers and acts of kindness were all well known for they did their act to be seen of people and their rewards were from men. In our own day if ministers of God set their priorities on the righteousness of God and were content to be led by God would there be eternal dinning of ‘donate now’? The poor are out there in the US and in such circumstances their prosperity would certainly be a matter for embarrassment.
In our prayers also we are to pray as children before our Father without any guile and pretenses. We are enjoined to make our needs known and also ask in faith. “Do not be like them (Pharisees and scribes), for your Father knows what you need before you ask him(Matt.6:8)”.
In this chapter God urges them to make their chiefest delight in their God. Are we seeking approval of men or of God? God instituted Sabbath for such rest that man would gladly seek. Entering into such a fellowship we place ourselves for what we are so our rest would mean also correction if need be. Love of our Father would require us to benefit from such free communion. Our salvation owes to power of the Word. When He gave us the Spirit we have in-house tutor and it is what ever leading us to the truth. While Power of God rests in our soul how we seek to know his Will for us is what study of the word of God means. The Psalmist asked,”Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea I shall observe it with all my heart ….Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight (Ps.119: 33-40). while we benefit from wisdom of his word. such rest has a purpose; and our delight in such a fellowship is preparing us to enter into His rest in eternity. It is the Sabbath where we are part of the Body of Christ. for this reason ten commandments can be reduced to love of God and man where we love God with all our heart soul and mind.”If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy(Ps.137:6).Elsewhere he sang, “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion we were like them that dream (Ps.126:1) It is a song of ascents and are our lives also spent in seeking higher ground and looking to that city that hath foundations whose maker is Lord God? As a hart panteth after the water brooks so panteth my soul after thee, O God” It is for such their reward is Sabbath nothing outwardly observed but enjoyed being in the centre of his love. It is the covenant of peace we have entered with him and we have been adopted in through the Son.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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:
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.