Condemnation of Hypocrisy (Daily Portion 10316)

Scripture Passage: 
Isaiah 58:1-14

In this chapter, Isaiah condemns the hypocrisy of the Israelites. They have a form of godliness. They even take delight in their fasts and in the keeping of the Sabbath. Yet, their fasts are not what God seeks. He desires them to forsake their wickedness and give bread to the hungry. Instead of delighting in the outward shows of godliness, they need to delight in obedience, in righteousness, and in the Lord Himself.

What Does It Say?

  1. Isaiah is told to cry aloud, to spare not, and to lift up his voice like and _____________.
  2. The Israelites are condemned because they fast for strife and _________.
  3. When they turn to the Lord in righteousness, He will make them to be like a watered ____________, and like a __________ of water whose waters fail not.
  4. In their return to the Lord, they will be called, The repairer of the __________, The restorer of __________ to dwell in.
  5. To honor God in the Sabbath they must not do their own __________, nor find their own ____________, nor speak their own words.

What Does It Mean?

  1. Instead of the outward show of a fast, God desires the Israelites to give bread to the hungry, bring the poor into their house, and cover the naked (v.7). The righteous Israelite is to do this “that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh” (v.7). Why does God call the poor “thine own flesh?” Read Nehemiah 5:1-8 and James 2:1-5. How do these passages help to explain this phrase in Isaiah 58:7?
  2. As part of their blessing for turning to the Lord in righteousness, “the glory of the LORD shall be their rereward” (v.8). The general meaning of rereward is rearguard. It refers to the company of soldiers that were placed at the rear of an army when they traveled. They had the important job of protecting the soft backside of the army. In what ways does God act as our rereward? How does this verse compare with Isaiah 52:12?
  3. One of the things that those seeking will remove is “the putting forth of the finger” (v.9). Perhaps this refers to an accusing finger pointing at another. According to Proverbs 6:13, the wicked man “teacheth with his fingers.” Isaiah 57:4 speaks of those who make “a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue.” What kinds of outward expressions and gestures should be avoided by those who know the Lord and love Him?

What Does It Mean to Me?

  1. Read verses 3-7 of this chapter. What do they seem to be doing right in their fasts? What is wrong with the fasts they are keeping? How can we sometimes be impressed with religious actions when God is not impressed? Read Isaiah 66:1-2. What is it that impresses God? What does this passage teach you about how you should approach God?
  2. In verse 2 of this chapter, Isaiah mocks the Israelites who “take delight in approaching to God.” Though they delight in approaching God, verses 3-5 show that God is not at all pleased with them. However, in verse 14, after they have returned to the Lord in righteousness, God is now pleased with them. He says, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD.” What is the difference between the two phrases—one not pleasing to God and other pleasing to God? How can we be wrong even when we delight in approaching to God? What are the keys to make sure that we delight in the Lord and not just in approaching to God?

Suggested Memory Verses

Isaiah 58:1, Isaiah 58:11

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 18:12

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.