Let’s begin by reading Isaiah 58:1-5, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and SHEW MY PEOPLE THEIR TRANSGRESSION, and the house of Jacob their sins. 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. 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. 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. 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?”

This chapter contains a severe reproof of the Jews on account of their actions. They were hypocritical in practicing and relying on outward ceremonies, such as fasting and bodily humiliation, but they had not truly repented for their sinfulness. They even accused the Lord of being uninterested in their fasting and bodily afflictions. “But the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). The Lord knew their hearts and knew that their outward actions of godliness were just a show.

In verses 6-7, the Lord tells His people that true signs of godliness and worship were to let the captive go free, to break the bond of slavery, to feed the hungry, and to feed the poor. This would be a fulfillment of the Law they were living under. We read in Leviticus 19:18, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF: I am the LORD.” The Apostle John echoed that sentiment in 1 John 3:17, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” These actions are not intended to GAIN salvation, but those who are saved should exhibit the love of God by doing these things.

Now let’s read Isaiah 58:10-11, “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 noonday: 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.” If we truly seek to minister to others:

* Our light will rise out of darkness.

* Our gloom will turn to a shining as bright as the noonday sun.

* The Lord will continually guide us.

* In a dry and scorched world, the Lord will provide for us.

* He will renew our strength.

* He will make us to become a well-watered garden where He finds pleasure.

* He will refresh us with an endless supply.

Precious blessings are promised to those who seek to minister to the needs (both physical and spiritual) of others. It is when we do THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON that the Lord is pleased and will minister to our needs. Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (327.6)