Isaiah Chapter 58


  • Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

Israel was shown the sin as a nation of turning from God even though they observed an outward show of seeking God. Until a nation, a community, a city, a congregation or an individual acknowledges his sin, he or she will continue to have that sin within them. To be free from sin one has to acknowledge, genuinely repent or turn away from that sin.

Israel had forsaken God and followed the idols of other nations. Later those other nations turned on them though. We can't really please the world in the long run. They will turn and rend us even if we follow them. We must stand true to God in all things. He will never leave nor forsake those that follow Him.

  • Isaiah 58:2 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.

They seemed to be seeking the Lord daily and had a form of religious acts and even took delight to observe religious rites.

  • Isaiah 58:3 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.

They even observed fasting or doing without food for religious reasons but God took no knowledge of them.

  • Isaiah 58:4 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.

Their fasts were in vain because they did not repent of sin or turn from evil. Some do religious outward acts of worship but it doesn't change their everyday lifestyle. They continue in sin and wickedness and do nothing to help their fellowmen who may have problems. They also were quarreling and fighting exacting cruelty.

  • Isaiah 58:5 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?

God did not take pleasure in their fasts.

  • Isaiah 58:6 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?

What would please the Lord more than afflicting the soul would be to show compassion and love toward their fellowmen. Let the oppressed go free, feed the hungry and help the poor.

  • Isaiah 58:7 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?

I notice that one was also not to neglect those in their own families. Jesus dealt with this also in the New Testament.

In Matthew 25

  • 35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
  • 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
  • 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
  • 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
  • 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
  • 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

In the book of Luke the above passage seem to refer to the brethren of Jesus, the Jewish people. This primarily is a judgment to the nations and how they treated Israel but it is good to examine ourselves as individuals also and make sure we do what we can to help the truly needy people as much as possible. This is done more successfully if it is done as a group rather than individually but with God's leading all things are possible. Yet we do have a responsibility to take care of our own families and provide for our children.

  • 1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Unless we do things to be seen of men to receive praise and honor of men, caring for the poor is a sign of true righteousness. God is the only one that sees our motive. True compassion comes from Him.

  • Isaiah 58:8 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 rereward.

This seems to be a promise of health to those that live righteous and do the works of the previous verses. The Lord also rewards those that do these things.

  • Isaiah 58:9 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:

The Lord promises to answer the prayers of those that do these things.

  • Isaiah 58:11 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.

Even further the Lord promises to guide us continually and take care of us in droughts and famines. The righteous shall prosper.

  • Isaiah 58:12 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.

True religion is not just outward but a repairer, a restorer and one that builds up foundations for many generations. One way to be a repairer is to win souls to Christ, to get those who have strayed away from God back to Him. To encourage righteous living and bring mankind to repentance.

  • Isaiah 58:13 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:

Religious observance should not be neglected either. Just because God rejects an outward religious observance with no real heart felt love and compassion on humanity does not mean that He does not want true worship. He wants us to observe true sincere worship. Honoring and worshipping God is very important. Taking a day to worship the Lord instead of "Doing our own thing" is very important. We need this ourselves. It is a refreshing rest for our souls. We need to worship God. There is something deep inside every person that needs to worship God. If we neglect this, alcohol, drugs and other things try to fill that vacuum and get us into trouble.

  • Isaiah 58:14 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.

So worship along with love and compassion is the true religion. We are not to have religious observances without putting away sin. True repentance and works of righteousness also are necessary in our worship.

Isaiah Index

 Isaiah 59