Isaiah 58-62 (The Daily Walk Bible).

Isaiah 58 reminds us of the danger of empty religion. We can engage in practices that seem to be spiritual (like fasting), but we can actually be far from God. God expects us to live for Him if we love Him! He warns Israel (and us) that, “Your mouth is full of lies, and your lips are tainted with corruption. No one cares about being fair and honest” (Isaiah 59:3-4). Fasting won’t fix that, but obedience will!

Jesus warns us of empty religion too: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward” (Matthew 6:1-5).

Jesus uses Isaiah 61:1 to describe his own ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

We also have a wonderful prediction in 59:20 of the coming of the Savior as well as the need for repentance: “‘And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,’ declares the Lord.”

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