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Isaiah 58 New Century Version (NCV)

How to Honor God

58 The Lord says, “Shout out loud. Don’t hold back.
    Shout out loud like a trumpet.
Tell my people what they have done against their God;
    tell the family of Jacob about their sins.
They still come every day looking for me
    and want to learn my ways.
They act just like a nation that does what is right,
    that obeys the commands of its God.
They ask me to judge them fairly.
    They want God to be near them.
They say, ‘To honor you we had special days when we fasted,
    but you didn’t see.
We humbled ourselves to honor you,
    but you didn’t notice.’”

But the Lord says, “You do what pleases yourselves on these special days,
    and you are unfair to your workers.
On these special days when you fast, you argue and fight
    and hit each other with your fists.
You cannot do these things as you do now
    and believe your prayers are heard in heaven.
This kind of special day is not what I want.
    This is not the way I want people to be sorry for what they have done.
I don’t want people just to bow their heads like a plant
    and wear rough cloth and lie in ashes to show their sadness.
This is what you do on your special days when you fast,
    but do you think this is what the Lord wants?

“I will tell you the kind of fast I want:
Free the people you have put in prison unfairly
    and undo their chains.
Free those to whom you are unfair
    and stop their hard labor.
Share your food with the hungry
    and bring poor, homeless people into your own homes.
When you see someone who has no clothes, give him yours,
    and don’t refuse to help your own relatives.
Then your light will shine like the dawn,
    and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your God will walk before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Then you will call out, and the Lord will answer.
    You will cry out, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

“If you stop making trouble for others,
    if you stop using cruel words and pointing your finger at others,
10 if you feed those who are hungry
    and take care of the needs of those who are troubled,
then your light will shine in the darkness,
    and you will be bright like sunshine at noon.
11 The Lord will always lead you.
    He will satisfy your needs in dry lands
    and give strength to your bones.
You will be like a garden that has much water,
    like a spring that never runs dry.
12 Your people will rebuild the old cities that are now in ruins;
    you will rebuild their foundations.
You will be known for repairing the broken places
    and for rebuilding the roads and houses.

13 “You must obey God’s law about the Sabbath
    and not do what pleases yourselves on that holy day.
You should call the Sabbath a joyful day
    and honor it as the Lord’s holy day.
You should honor it by not doing whatever you please
    nor saying whatever you please on that day.
14 Then you will find joy in the Lord,
    and I will carry you to the high places above the earth.
    I will let you eat the crops of the land your ancestor Jacob had.”
The Lord has said these things.

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Isaiah 58 New International Version (NIV)

True Fasting

58 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 58:8 Or your righteous One
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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