The motivation for fasting (Isa 58:3-58:5)

“Why do we fast?

You do not see it.

Why humble ourselves?

You do not notice it.

Look!

You serve your own interest

On your fast day.

You oppress all your workers.

Look!

You fast only to quarrel!

You fast only to fight!

You fast to strike with a wicked fist.

Such is the fasting

That you do today.

It will not make your voice

Heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose?

Is this a day to humble oneself?

Is it to bow down the head

Like a bulrush?

Is it to lie in sackcloth?

Is it to lie in ashes?

Will you call this a fast?

Will you call this

A day acceptable to Yahweh?”

Third Isaiah points out the hypocrisy of those who are fasting. Why are they fasting? God does not seem to notice them since they serve their own interests when they are fasting. While fasting, they oppress their workers, quarrel with others, and fight with strong fists. What kind of fast is that? This kind of fasting will get them nowhere. How will they be able to make their voice heard on high with these actions? They are not humble with this kind of fasting. Are they like a bulrush marsh plant? What about sackcloth and ashes? How can they call this acceptable to the Lord? This is a strong condemnation of useless unmotivated fasting.

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