vs. 1-12. — FORMALISM REBUKED AND INSTRUCTIONS
GIVEN WITH RESPECT TO FASTING. As in the last section, so here,
the prophet’s eye seems to rest upon his contemporaries rather than upon
the exiles; and to note the vices of the time, which have a general
resemblance to those rebuked in ch. 1. The whole Law seems to be in
force, and the People to make a show of keeping it, and to complain that
they are not properly rewarded for their religiousness. God tears the mask
from their face, and shows the difference between true religion and the
pretence of it.
v. 1 – “Cry aloud…lift up thy voice like a trumpet….show my people
v.2 – “They seek me daily” and delight to know my ways (compare
the picture drawn in Isaiah 1:11-15). We have there exactly the same
representation of a people honoring God with their lips, but whose hearts
are far from Him — zealous in all the outward forms of religion, even
making “many prayers” (Isaiah 1:15), but yet altogether an offence to
God. They are not conscious hypocrites — quite the reverse; they are bent
on “doing righteousness,” on not forsaking God’s ordinance, on
continually “approaching” Him; but they are wholly without a proper sense
of what religion is — they make it a matter of outward observance, and do
not understand that it consists in the devotion of the heart.
v. 3 – “Afflicted our soul” – These are the exact words of Leviticus 16:29, 31,
by which the fast of the great Day of Atonement was instituted “And thou
takest no knowledge” ; rather, no notice. In the day of your fast ye find
pleasure. Delitzsch and Mr. Cheyne render, “ye carry on business,” which
accords better with the clause which follows. The great Day of Atonement was,
like the sabbath, a day on which no work was to be done (Leviticus 16:29). The
Jews, while priding themselves on their observance of the day, did not really
observe it in this particular. “And exact all your labours”; i.e. “require of
your servants and subordinates all the services that they have to render on
other days.” Days of religious observance, even under the Law, were
always intended to be days of kindly forbearance towards the poor, of the
remission of burdens, or even of the actual giving of relief.
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v. 4 - "the fist of wickedness" - “When fasting, they are doubly irritable
and ill tempered; and this leads to quarrelling and strife, even
to striking with angry fists.” This is quite a possible explanation.
Or there may have been two parties, one for, the other against,
fasting; and those who practised fasting may have done it, as
to provoke the opposite side.
v. 5 – the fast according to man’s idea
vs. 6-7 – the fast of the Lord’s prescription –
v. 8 - the glory of the Lord will be your rearguard!! – the glory which
He will confer on thee, will follow thee and be as it were thy
rearguard” – compare ch. 50:12
vs. 9-10 - a repetition of righteous acts and the blessings of the Lord
v. 11 - "the Lord shall guide thee continually" – direct thee in all thy
"Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" - Jeremiah 10:23
v. 12 – “They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places”
Thy descendants shall restore all that has fallen into decay
whether it be cities or customs. They shall restore “breaches” of every
kind, and bring back the old paths for thee to walk in.
HOW FAR HAVE WE
FALLEN AND HOW
REPAIR THE BREACHES IN OUR SOCIETY! (CY – 2009)
vs. 13-14 - A STRICT OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH
ENJOINED. While the fasting of the day only required to be spiritualized,
the sabbath observance needed both spiritualizing and increased strictness.
From 2 Chronicles 36:21 we learn that the sabbatical years had been
little observed during the later Jewish kingdom; and it would seem from
the present passage (comp. Jeremiah 17:21-23) that even the
observance of the sabbath itself had been neglected. Not that the neglect
was total. The sacrifices proper to the sabbath were duly offered — the
“solemn assembly” was duly called and attended (Isaiah 1:13); but
during the rest of the day business flowed in its usual course — the
complete sanctification of the entire day was set aside. We find a similar
laxity prevalent after the return from the Captivity (Nehemiah 10:31;
13:15, 16). SURELY NO ONE
WILL DENY THIS SIN IN
It is "by business" and not pleasure that the sabbath
was polluted - Jer. 17:21-23, 27
They pursued their secular occupations on the sabbath
day as they pleased - they bought and sold, carried their
corn, trod the winepress, conveyed commodities from
place to place and engaged in every form of traffic
and merchandise - Neh. 13:15-16
Abortion, desecration of the sabbath, a turned back
on theTen Commandments, obsession with separation
of church and state - are all connected with
decline and is speedily ushering us into JUDGMENT!
II Chron. 36:21**** - for the length of the CAPTIVITY!
"the sabbath a delight" - to call and feel it a
delight - a real satisfaction to the soul and not a
A right use of the sabbath will help to form in men
habits of devotion which will make religion a joy
and delight to them!!!
God's people should look forward to their sabbaths
as times of refreshment and of "joy in the Lord" -
as oases in the wilderness of life, glimpses and foretastes
The sabbath was intended to be the crown of the
week, the special day "which the Lord hath made
and we should "rejoice and be glad in it" - Ps. 118:24
I will give thee a prominent position in the earth
and cause thee to occupy its high places and bear
rule over many nations
God sincerely would enter upon the promised
heritage and occupy the position originally
assigned to it!!
"for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it"