Isaiah 58:1-14

Worship God truly

1 The Lord says,

‘Shout out! Shout as loudly as you can!

Make as much noise as a trumpet makes!

Tell my people that they have not obeyed me.

Tell the family of Jacob about their sins.

58:1The family of Jacob means God's people, Judah and Israel, who were descendants of Jacob.

2 Every day my people come to worship me.

It seems that they want to know my ways.

They seem like a nation of people

who are doing the right things.

They seem to be obeying the law of their God.

They ask me to decide things fairly.

Yes, they seem to want to be near to me.

3 They say to me, “We have fasted to please you,

but you do not see it.

We make ourselves humble

and you do not even look.”

Listen to me! Yes you fast,

but you do it to please yourselves.

At the same time as you are fasting,

you are being cruel to the people who work for you.

4 Yes! While you are fasting,

you are also quarrelling and you are fighting.

You hit each other with your fists.

If you want your prayers to reach me in heaven,

you cannot continue to fast in the way that you do today.

5 The way that you fast does not please me at all:

You make yourselves humble for a day.

You bend down your head,

like a piece of weak grass.

You lie down on sackcloth and ashes.

Do you think that you are really fasting when you do that?

Do you think that it pleases me, the Lord?

6 This is the way that I want you to fast:

You must remove the chains

from prisoners who should not be in prison.

You must stop being cruel

to the people who work for you.

You must let people who are in pain go free.

You must break the yoke

of work that is too hard for weak people.

58:6A yoke is a picture of very hard work that you cannot escape from.

7 Instead, share your food with hungry people.

Give a place in your home

to poor people who have no home.

Give clothes to people who have nothing to wear.

If people in your own family need help,

do not refuse to help them.

8 Then God's light will shine on you,

like the sun's light at dawn.

Very soon, your troubles will go away.

The good things that you do to help others

will be clear for everyone to see.

And the Lord will use his great power

to keep you safe.

9 Then you will ask the Lord for help

and he will answer you.

When you call out to him,

he will say, “Here I am.”

But you must stop being cruel to other people.

Do not accuse people,

and do not say bad things about them.

10 If people are hungry,

share your own food with them.

Help those people who are in pain.

Then your help to them will be like a light

that shines in a dark place.

You will no longer live in darkness,

but you will have light as bright as the sun at noon.

11 The Lord will always be your guide.

He will give you plenty to eat,

even when the ground is dry.

He will make your bodies strong.

You will be like a garden that has plenty of water.

You will be like a spring of water

that never becomes dry.

12 You will build again the cities

which became heaps of stones a long time ago.

You will build your houses on the old foundations.

People will call you, “Builders who mend the walls and the streets with their houses.”

13 So, remember to obey the rules for the Sabbath day.

That is my holy day,

so do not just try to please yourselves.

Enjoy the Sabbath day,

and respect it as the Lord's holy day.

Do not do your usual work on that day.

Do not do things or speak about things,

only to make yourself happy.

14 If you do those things, you will be happy

as you serve me, the Lord.

I will give you all the things that you need.

I will cause crops to grow

on the land that I gave to your ancestor Jacob.’

That is the Lord's message.