Isaiah 58

1 “Cry aloud, don’t spare. Lift up your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their disobedience, and to 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 didn’t forsake the ordinance of their God, they ask of me righteous judgements. They delight to draw near to God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ say they, ‘and you don’t see? Why have we afflicted our soul, and you don’t notice?’ “Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and oppress all your laborers. 4 Behold, you fast for strife and contention, and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You don’t fast today so as to make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is this the fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to humble his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under himself? Will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 “Isn’t this the fast that I have chosen: to release the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 7 Isn’t it to distribute your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor who are cast out to your house? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light will break out as the morning, and your healing will appear quickly; then your righteousness shall go before you; and the LORD’s glory will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away from amongst you the yoke, finger pointing, and speaking wickedly; 10 and if you pour out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul: then your light will rise in darkness, and your obscurity will be as the noonday; 11 and the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in dry places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters don’t fail. 12 Those who shall be of you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Paths with Dwellings. 13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of the LORD honorable; and shall honor it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: 14 then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father”, for the LORD’s mouth has spoken it.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-2

The Holy Spirit had hypocrites of every age in view. Self-love and timid Christians may say, Spare thyself; dislike to the cross and other motives will say, “Spare the rich and powerful;” but God says, “Spare not:” and we must obey God, not men. We all need earnestly to pray for God’s assistance in examining ourselves. Men may go far toward heaven, yet come short; and they may go to hell with a good reputation.

Verses 3-12

A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God’s house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man’s faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.

Verses 13-14

The sabbath is a sign between God and his professing people; his appointing it is a sign of his favour to them; and their observing it is a sign of their obedience to him. We must turn from travelling on that day; from doing our pleasure on that holy day, without the control and restraint of conscience; or from indulging in the pleasures of sense. On sabbath days we must not follow our callings, or our pleasures. In all we say and do, we must put a difference between this day and other days. Even in Old Testament times the sabbath was called the Lord’s day, and is fitly called so still; and for a further reason, it is the Lord Christ’s day, Rev. 1:10. If we thus remember the sabbath day to keep it holy, we shall have the comfort and profit of it, and have reason to say, It is good to draw near to God.

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