For we who take delight in approaching God, Isa 58 is a gold mine. God is talking to His own people here — not the wicked and not the unconcerned and too busy, but those who seek Him daily, who fast and pray. Their question for God is, We do all this, but You take no notice of us, why is that?
1) You do what pleases you and not what pleases Me (vs. 3);
2) You drive hard your employees;
3) You strive, debate with, and wound those you do not agree with (vs. 4);
4) Have you forgiven everyone of everything (vs. 6)?
5) Have you relieved the burdens of the weak who are oppressed?
6) When you deny yourself of bread, do you instead feed it to the hungry and poor (vs. 7)?
7) Do you clothe the naked?
8) You hide yourself from your family and do not take care of your own elderly, poor, and widows (vs. 7)!
9) Do you accuse others, and speak ill of anyone (vs. 9)?
10) Do you delight to honor the LORD on His holy day, the Sabbath, or on His day, do you seek your own pleasure and do your own ways and speak your own words (vs. 13)?
I see myself in some of these things, I am ashamed to admit. The LORD is after true love shown to others, and not just the things that religious people are so good at: outward forms of piety and church going while we accuse our spouses, fight with our families, put down those who are doctrinally “inferior” to us, and ignore our elderly parents and grandparents in nursing homes. We clean the house and run errands on Saturday because to do it any other day would cut into *our* agenda. That the Sabbath is important to God, is clear, even if we cannot figure out what difference it makes with human logic. Be that as it may, will we honor what He calls honorable, just because His word tells us to?
Correct these things, the LORD is saying — this is true fasting. If you do these things, your light will break forth like the dawn, your healing will come upon you speedily, and when you call, the LORD will say “Here I am!” His glory will guard you, He will establish you and exalt you, and you shall be like a watered garden.