Walk the talk
Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins! Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord? Isaiah 58:1-5 NLT
God is ushering towards the promise of new heavens and new earth. He promised that there will be a full display of His glory. With all these great anticipations that will transpire, from the text, believers are called upon to “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!” (Isaiah 58:1). This is also the call for the church, being persuasive preparing the way for the Lord. The call is for people to return to God and be convicted of their sin. The shortcoming Isaiah is addressing is the people’s reliance on their ability to gain righteousness before God. Their goal is to please God through observances of religious rituals but they are just going through the motions satisfying themselves. Form and substance cannot be separated in the way we worship God. We can be doing good things in the sight of the people yet without the awareness of what God wants from us. God does not want us to prove our devotion to Him by starving ourselves and looking miserable because we are fasting while ignoring our Christian duty to love others. “Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling?” (Isaiah 58:3b-4). Our faith in God should not be disconnected to how we relate to others. Our love for God should be manifested on how we relate to others. Our devotion to God should be reflected on how we proclaim the gospel, shouting loud God’s message of grace coupled with our actions reaching out to others in love.