If you have the time, start today by reading, praying through, and meditating on Isaiah 58.
My Grandfathers “life verse” was Isaiah 58:9-10. He would always write the reference out diligently under his name on anything he would “sign” from birthday cards to a personal note. As a kid, I never really took much notice. It was kinda just one of those things a Grandpa would do. When he died, I remember going back and reading these verses and then the whole chapter really in some ways with new eyes for the first time. My Grandfather led a great life following Jesus. I remember wondering if there was some “secret” wisdom to his understanding of faith, and thought his life verse might be a good place to start searching. What I found there has changed my walk with God.
In this chapter of Isaiah, we find the Israelites in quite the predicament. They are desperately wanting God’s presence and wisdom in their lives, and they are doing all the “right” things to get it! Fasting. Praying. Obeying all the laws and customs . . .
God says, “For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways”, and they said back, ‘Why have we fasted, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”
This push pull is a common occurrence in my walk with God too. God says (my version here), “It’s all great and good that you are doing all the “right” things. But you have totally forgotten what is near to my heart!
You’re checking all the boxes… but I want your heart… and I want your heart to want what I want.”
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."Isaiah 58:9-10
Knowing God’s heart is the path to truly wanting and desiring. Him. I love what God says He loves in this passage . . . It’s challenging isn't it. I've heard it said, “If you want to find God, you have to go where He is.”