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.
* God of grace and mercy, please be merciful to us today, forgive us our sins, and teach us Your ways.
“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?”
We see again God’s calling for us, His people, to TRUE religion.
Faith that works itself out in God’s good purposes.
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 His name or keep it holy.
Because we know that it is not the _doing_ that is the difference here. The examples God gives us in this passage on both sides are examples of work.
On one side we have actions that are other full of false humility and fasting for self-pleasure and feeling superior (The goats, Jesus will tell them they cannot enter).
On the other side we have actioned that are other-centered and of true humility (The sheep, Jesus the Good Shepherd will welcome them in).
And because we know that we cannot save ourselves, we cannot _do_ anything to gain the righteousness we need to stand before the living God, we must wrestle with what it means that God calls us to do good.
As with Israel, so with us. They were not given the law before they were saved out of Egypt, but after God had rescued them.
We are not saved BY good works, not even a little!
Our King has saved us UNTO good works.
* Father God,
Please teach us from Your word today.
And Lord please call those around us, and may they answer.
So that when the Son of Man returns in all His glory, all the angel hosts with Him – Lord may we be welcomed in by the Good Shepherd.
Please give us a heart for the lost. Please draw them to You.