I’ve randomly opened my Bible to Isaiah 58 many times, which makes me think there’s some sort of message I’m supposed to be learning from it. In Isaiah 58, The Israelite people are being extremely hard on themselves in an effort to impress God.
They are fasting and going to God’s Temple every day. They even say to God “We have fasted before you! Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!” (verse 3)
And God’s reply is that this is NOT the kind of “fasting” He wants. He doesn’t want them to be hard on themselves to try to impress Him while they keep on fighting and quarreling and hurting each other.
Instead He wants them to “Share food with the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, give clothes to those who need them and not hide from relatives who need their help.” (verse 7) Secretly, I was kind of bummed when I read the not hiding from relatives part. 😉 Just kidding.
The passage goes on to say that if they will help each other out, “Their light will shine out from the darkness, The Lord will guide them continually, giving them water when they are dry and restoring their strength.” (verses 10-11)
Do you ever beat yourself up when you feel guilty? I’m pretty good at being hard on myself. The thing is that doesn’t really accomplish anything and God doesn’t want or need us to tear ourselves apart. What He wants is for us to simply care for each other.