It seems that God was fed up with Israel and sent them a note through Isaiah. The nation had a certain religious appearance and prioritized their disciplines. But something was way off and it bothered God.

Isaiah 58:
 1 “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.
2 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.

Israel said all the right things publicly. They projected the idea of being a godly nation. They asked for God’s help in many of the same ways as us. We say we want to know God’s ways, His justice and His presence.

But God felt differently. He saw a nation posing as if they were solid with Him and already living right. Even though Israel fasted and observed spiritual disciplines, they had questions about why God was not changing things for the better.

It’s possible to sound very spiritual and like we are in alliance with the Almighty. But something is still off… God pulled off the mask to reveal their true face.

They did all these religious things, but continued to mistreat their employees. They were busy getting rich off the backs of the poor. Fasting made them cranky. As soon as the observance was over, they got back to their hostilities with one another. They slipped back into being abusive and coarse. God was fed up, because they felt they were really doing something by getting to church on time and skipping a couple meals.

We need to take a hard look at the spiritual disciplines and practices in our life. What is the point? Is there a fasting, prayer and devotional life that God is favorable towards?