Our religious deeds by themselves don’t mean much to God. This upset people then and it does us today. Verses 6,7 describe that God looks for a consistent faith over all parts of my life. It is good to meditate on such verses.
We see again here God’s calling on us, His people, to TRUE religion. Faith that works itself out in God’s good purposes.
Instead of the false religion of empty works and religiosity, the Lord says, “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”
When we are tempted to fall into a rut of outward regulations without the heart of faith, then we do not bring God pleasure, we do not honor and keep His Name.
Because you see that it’s not the _doing_ which is the difference here. The examples God gives us, on both sides, are examples of work.
On one side we have actions that are false humility and fasting for self-pleasure and feeling superior (goats, Jesus will tell them they cannot enter).
On the other side we have actions that are other-centered and of true humility (sheep, Jesus the Good Shepherd will welcome them in).
To be a wellspring for society around us, “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”
Lastly, it’s really important to note the seriousness with which the Lord takes the Sabbath (in Jesus, Sunday). Instead of SELF, we are to be about the LORD.
“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; …”
* Father God, thank You today for Your word.
Please teach us today what You would have us know.
And when the Son of Man comes in His glory, all the angels with Him – Lord God may we be welcomed in by the Good Shepherd, His sheep.
Give us a heart for the lost, and may through whatever means You choose, please draw them to You.