Saying one thing…

I’m not very good at going without food for very long.  It’s not just my penchant for coffee and cakes that leads me astray, my body just doesn’t respond well.

But fasting seems to be something that Isaiah‘s contemporaries were good at – at least in the sense of they were able to go without food for periods of time.

But the people aren’t happy. think they’re doing their bit – they can’t understand why God isn’t doing his bit and answering their prayers.  Why should they fast if God never notices?

Isaiah is here to tell them why.  Perhaps God can’t see their fasting for all the other things they’re piling in the way.   Or perhaps again they are missing the point ( that seems to be a major theme of the bible…)

Because though they are fasting, the rest of their lives carry on as normal – and normal was not good.  At the same time as fasting they are still thinking about themselves; they are abusing their workers; they get angry, they sit in sackcloth and ashes with a ‘look at me’ mentality.

Is this really what God wants on a day of worship?


The kind of offering and fasting God wants is: the removal of chains of oppression and injustice, sharing food with the hungry, opening of homes to the homeless, giving clothes to those who have none – that is true offering.  After all, God’s promise remains, “When you pray, I will answer.”  When you pray.

It turns out it’s not what you don’t do – but what you do do that matters.  It’s not what you talk about, but how you act…

Lord you challenge us:

Doing the right thing, for the wrong reason

is not enough.

It’s not what we’re seen to be doing that matters,

but the difference we make.

Help me not to say one thing

and do another,

and bring the offering that is true worship

~ by pamjw on February 1, 2011.

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