Isaiah- Session 12- Isaiah 58:1-12

Session 12

Isaiah 58:1-12

 

Session Resources:

Video Summary:

 

 

Lesson Notes

Isaiah Session 12- https://www.cantonbaptistabf.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Isaiah-Session-12.docx

Isaiah Session 12- Powerpoint- https://www.cantonbaptistabf.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Isaiah-PowerPoint-Session-12.pptx

Isaiah Session 12 Structural Outline

 

Subject:  Worship

Central Theme:  Pursuing Authentic Worship

Objective Sentence:  We should pursue authenticity in our worship for three reasons.

Reason #1- God rejects empty worship. V.1-5

Reason #2- God expects authentic worship. V.6-7

Reason #3- God blesses obedient worship. V.8-12

Introduction:

Connection:

Kierkegaard once told a story about the time a fire broke out in a great theater. Hoping to avoid a panic, they send out a famous actor to make the evacuation announcement. He explains what is happening and what they need to do and the crowd thinks it is part of the show and gives him applause. Worried, the actor continues and repeats with passion the life-saving instructions. They repeat their applause. As the actor pleads with them to run, they shout bravos while the walls of the theater crash in around them. What they needed that day was a word they regarded as authentic.

  • No one ever really says, “I love hypocritical people.”
  • We all value the genuine.
    • No one wants to be paid in counterfeit bills.
    • No one wants the doctor that cheated his way through medical school.
    • In every service and product we utilize, we value what is genuine.

Tension:

  • In today’s text God addresses his people’s sinful lifestyle.
  • They were offering Him worship in the form of fasting, but their worship did not match the rest of their lives.
  • God deals with them pretty specifically in this chapter.
  • And we learn three things about God’s desires that should make us desire authenticity in our worship of Him.

We should pursue authenticity in our worship for three reasons.

Reason #1- God rejects empty worship. V.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.  (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.  (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.  (Isaiah 58:1-3)

Explanation:

  • At the beginning of Isaiah 58, God gives Isaiah 4 commands:
  1. Cry aloud,
  2. Spare not,
  3. Lift up thy voice, and
  4. shew my people their transgression.
  • Notice that these commands are both confrontational and seem to indicate being loud about them.
  • There is an urgency in verse one.  God is telling Isaiah to declare the sins of God’s people, “the house of Jacob”, and to do it both urgently and loudly.
  • In verse 2 we see why it is a good time to do this.
  • God’s people are sinful, as we can tell by verse 1, but God declares that there seems to be a desire that these people had to know and please God.

(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.

  • There seems to be the possibility of repentance.
  • He says they “seek him daily”, that they “delight to know my ways”, and that they “take delight in approaching to God”.
  • You see in this verse the desire for knowledge, and the desire to commune with God.
  • This is good, but apparently it was not enough.
  • God was pleased with this desire to know Him, but there was a problem.  They were lacking in their true obedience to Him.
  • Verse three records their question to him.

(3)”Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?”

  • They could be summed up in this way:
    • “God, we are doing these religious practices like fasting, so why aren’t you listening?  It’s like you don’t even know or care about the worship through fasting that we are offering to you!”
  • God begins to the answer to them in the last half of verse 3, when he says,

…”Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.”

  • In other words, on the same day that they sought to you worship God through a fast, they were oppressing other people and serving themselves.
  • Their worship of God was shown to be just empty ritual because of the worship of themselves expressed by disobedience to the law of God during the rest of the day.
  • Notice what God did not say.
  • He did not deny that He was unresponsive to their worship.
    • He was being unresponsive to their worship and was not answering them in the way they desired.
    • Their behavior exhibited the fact that their worship was mere empty ritualism, and this kind of worship is unacceptable to God.

Application:

  • God does not desire for us to worship him formally on one day of the week, and then to act disobediently and worship something else the other six days of the week.
  • Worship does not just happen corporately at a weekly religious event.
  • Worship is a lifestyle.  It is the flow of our life.
  • This is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31:

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

  • Of course, that verse refers to eating meat offered to idols or not, but also calls us to have a proper motivation behind every decision we make in life.
  • Every decision we make throughout our day ought to be filtered by the question:  “Am I doing this as unto the Lord?”
  • Oppression of others and service of self weren’t the only problems. Notice what else showed the emptiness of their worship:

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.  (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?

Isaiah 58:4-5

  • Fighting as result of worship.
    • God points out that their fasting is leading to strife, debate, and even violence.

Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness:

  • Some take the fighting in verse four to mean that they were grumpy and contentious because of the religious practice of fasting.
    • The slang word for this would be “hangry”.
    • They were hungry because of the fasting and this was making them contentious even to the point of fighting.
  • Others take the fighting to be about fighting with others about how fasting ought to be done, whether it was legitimate or not.
    • We have all seen fights between people about how things ought to be in worship.
    • People fight over all kinds of things in churches today that relate to the practice of worship.
  • Whatever the nature of their fight was, this was not the purpose of fasting. God tells them that they need to stop this kind of fasting.  This kind of worship He rejects.
  • Worship to manipulate God.
    • God says that the fasting that they need to stop also was fasting that tried “to make your voice to be heard on high”.
    • They thought that if they fasted severely enough that God would then be obligated to hear what they wanted and to respond in the way that they wanted.
    • God goes on to ask them to think about if this was really what He desired for fasting.

(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?

  • Was God really impressed with their affliction of themselves?  Was God obligating Himself to the person who endured the most suffering?  The obvious answer is no.
  • This kind of worship as manipulation was the kind of worship that pagan people practiced.  God the Father rejected this idea as well.

Application:

  • Fighting because of being in a bad mood because of how we worship indicates a wrong attitude.
  • While there is a time to stand up for proper worship, fighting for our own preferences in worship misses the point of worship as well.
  • Worship offered that seeks to get our own way by seeking to manipulate God is not worship at all.
  • We cannot fool God.  He knows our hearts, and these kinds of empty rituals He rejects.

 

We should pursue authenticity in our worship for three reasons.

Reason #1- God rejects empty worship. V.1-5

Reason #2- God expects authentic worship. V.6-7

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?  (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?

Explanation:

  • So, what does authentic fasting look like?  What is the fruit of right worship?
  • Authentic worship is exhibited through righteous living.
  • Fasting was a practice that was prescribed to make people closer to the Lord and to produce certain results in their lives.
  • God says that the fast that He had chosen lead to the following results:
    • Sanctification- “to loose the bands of wickedness”
    • Mercy- “to undo the heavy burdens”
    • Justice- “to let the oppressed go free and that ye break every yoke”
    • Generosity- “to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast over thy house? when thou seest the naked and thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh”

Application:

  • Far from worship being self-serving, worship was intended to help us prioritize God and to make a difference in the world.
  • Worship is not supposed to lead to fighting.  Worship is supposed to lead to service.
  • Worship is not supposed to lead to manipulating God for what we want.  Worship is supposed to align our hearts with God so that He can lead us to do His will.
  • Look down at verse 9 and 10

(v9b) If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; (10a)  And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul;

  • We see more behaviors in keeping with authentic worship.
  • These behaviors are expressed as conditions that will bring about certain results.
  • Notice these behaviors that God expects:

 Forsaking Injustice

“If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity…”

  • The “yoke” here speaks to an expression of oppression.
  • “Putting forth of the finger” is less clear but may allude to the body language that comes when people fight, mock, or scoff.
  • To “speak vanity” is to say things that are either untrue, unhelpful, or even sinful.
  • When put into context regarding our attitude and actions toward those around, we see that God’s desire is for people that worship him to get rid of systems and behaviors that truly oppress and victimize.

 Expressing Compassion

“and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul…”

  • The expression here “draw out thy soul” speaks to not just helping people for the sake of appeasing your conscience or helping out of sheer duty.
  • God’s desire is there to be a genuine love that motivates our helping those who are in need and afflicted.
  • It is not enough to just hope that needs are met, we must do what we can to see that needs are met.
  • Authentic worship will lead to good works.  James said it this way:

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  (15)  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  (16)  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  (17)  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  James 2:14-17

Application:

  • What authenticates a person’s claim to faith and authentic worship is a life that exhibits what they say they believe.
  • Our walk must match our talk.
  • If we love God, then we will love what He loves.  This means we will love others and want what is best for them.

 

We should pursue authenticity in our worship for three reasons.

Reason #1- God rejects empty worship. V.1-5

Reason #2- God expects authentic worship. V.6-7

Reason #3- God blesses obedient worship. V.8-12

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.  (9)  Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.

Isaiah 58:8-9a

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:  (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.  (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.  Isaiah

58:10-12

 

Explanation:

  • Most fathers love to bless their children.  This is a point that Jesus made.

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  (12)  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  (13)  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?  Luke 11:11-13

  • In this passage God has answered the question of those in Israel who were asking why God didn’t seem to be responding to their expressions of worship.
  • He told them that they were practicing oppression and selfishness along with their worship.
  • The remedy He called for was to offer expressions of worship that lead to sanctification, mercy, justice, generosity, selflessness, fleeing injustice and expressing compassion.
  • In verses 8-12 we see that the results of these expressions of genuine worship toward God would lead to the blessings of God in their lives.
  • Look at the expressions of blessing God promises will be poured out to the children of Israel when they forsook empty worship, and worshipped God authentically:

 Light

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning…” v.8

“then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday…” v.10 

 

Health

“and thine health shall spring forth speedily…” v.8

 

Righteousness

“and thy righteousness shall go before thee…” v.8

 

Reward

“the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward..” v.9

 

Answered Prayer

“then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am….” v.9

Guidance

And the LORD shall guide thee continually…” v. 11

Provision

“…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.” . v.11

Legacy

“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.”  v.12

 

Application:

  • Do you want to live under the blessing of God?
  • Do you want to have a legacy of being used by God to make a difference in the lives of those around you?
  • If you do, you must reject empty ritualism.
  • You must reject oppression and selfishness.
  • You must reject a kind of worship that seeks to manipulate God into getting what you want.
  • You must understand that God expects genuine, authentic worship.
  • God’s desire is to bless those who are obedient.
    • The first step of obedience is to trust in Christ as your personal Savior.  We must acknowledge our sin and repent.  We must turn to Him by faith, knowing that outside of Jesus Christ we are lost and still in our sin.
  • Once we are saved, we can offer God worship that honors and glorifies Him.  We become one of His kids, and like a loving Father, He blesses His obedient children.

 

Response:

  • Do you know Christ as Savior?  Jesus said that no man comes to the Father except by Him.  Trust in Christ today?
  • Believers, is your worship of God regular and authentic?  God blesses obedience!

Conclusion:

We should pursue authenticity in our worship for three reasons.

Reason #1- God rejects empty worship. V.1-5

Reason #2- God expects authentic worship. V.6-7

Reason #3- God blesses obedient worship. V.8-12

 

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