26th September 2020 - Daily Devotion
Isaiah 58. Doing good things but with an unloving heart
Is it possible for a Christian to spend time reading the Bible and praying to God, to seek Him out, to fast, and still to be disobedient to what God wants us to be?
Read verses 1 and 2 again to see that the answer is shockingly; yes! This may surprise many Christians.
We can think we are good Christians because we “tick boxes” in our minds. We give to God our 15/30/60 minutes in prayer! We have our “God slot” and then think we can do what we feel like with the other 23+ hours of the day! We put God in a brief part of our day and exclude Him from most of the rest of our lives!
Does God reveal Himself to You in your quiet times? Do you perceive what He is saying to You? When is the last time you heard His Voice?
For some, the answer is that God speaks to us through His Word most days. For others, they do not discern what He is saying at all. If you are not hearing from God for weeks and months, and sometimes years and decades, something is wrong with your relationship with your Heavenly Father.
If you have stopped being in a relationship with Him, it is important to take time and effort to find out what has gone wrong. When did you stop hearing from God? Has He given you an instruction to do something? Have you not done it? Did you fail to encourage someone, have you cheated people? There are many reasons why we don’t hear from God.
Verse 4 says:
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
If you cannot hear from God, now is the time to seek Him anew! How do we go about fixing the problem? Isaiah 58 gives us good advice. In verse 5, we are to humble ourselves, this means to admit we are fallible people who get it wrong and need to be in submission and obedience to our heavenly Father. We need to show love to people! We are commanded to overcome injustice and help others with their problems (verse 6). For example, verse 7 instructs us to provide food and shelter and clothing, and help our families.
God gives us a conditional promise. When we obey Him, He says in verse 8:
“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”
We sometimes need to do things, not for salvation but to break down the barriers between us and God. We need to prove ourselves in His sight. God often tests people in the Bible. Not because He doesn’t already know the outcome but to lead us into maturity. Doing these things may not always be easy but the rewards as described in verses 8-14 are fantastic! As Jesus said in Matthew 22:37- 40 the greatest commands are to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We can falsely believe we love our God. When we are not loving towards people, our love for God is not evident. The New Living Translation of Romans 12:9 reads:
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.”
Suggested prayer: Father God, we pray You to fill us with Your Spirit so we have a sincere and authentic love for You, that overspills into loving our neighbors. Forgive us for the times we have been angry, selfish, and less than loving towards those around us. We want to be loving like you and experience the joy of living in Your Presence every day. In Jesus Name. Amen.