Isaiah – Chapter 58

Rebuke for Emphasis on External Forms of Worship

In Chapter 58, God seems to be rebuking the Israelites for their superficial attitude toward fasting (verse 4). They seem to fast only to attempt to control God – like a quid pro quo. That is, they are saying to God, “we are fasting, so answer our prayers.”  Fasting isn’t being done to glorify God. They are completely missing the point of fasting, which is to connect with the poor and oppressed (verses 6 – 7). God’s response is that genuine fasting should result in one wanting to genuinely work on behalf of the poor and oppressed (verses 9 – 10). If they choose to do God’s work and forsake their own ways, they will eventually find joy in the Lord.