SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The Israelites believe they are doing what is right and good in their actions, but God thinks otherwise and points it out to them. God specifically uses their method of fasting as an example. (Fasting is typically viewed as a voluntary withdrawal from food for the purpose of seeking God and drawing closer to Him). It’s described that while the Israelites followed through with the physical act of fasting, they were being completely hypocritical in their spiritual actions towards God and others. During their time of fasting, they would constantly get into fights and treat others around them poorly and unjustly.
- God reveals the correct way to fast is accomplished through loving others and loving Him. He promises that if one’s intentions behind a fast are pure, then they will be able to draw close to Him and feel His joy.
- Israel’s ill intentions are highlighted through the act of fasting, but the key message God is trying to get across applies to every aspect of life. God wants people’s hearts. A person can go through the actions of praying, attending church, reading Scripture, etc., but if the heart is never involved and never changes, then they will never be able to truly experience Him.
- Do you have a relationship with God? How do you feel about your relationship with God? Is it strong? Is it strained? Is your heart in it? If it feels disconnected, then now is the time to get your heart right with Him again.