Shout out a throaty shout, do not keep it back! Lift up your voice like you would a ram’s horn! Announce to my people their wrongdoing, to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet day after day they seek me and take pleasure in knowing my roads, as if they were a nation that did a righteous thing and did not abandon the judgment of their God; they ask me for righteous judgments, they take pleasure in approaching God, 3 asking “Why are we fasting, but you are not looking? Why are we humbling our souls, but you are not acknowledging it?” Watch, you are finding your own pleasure on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. 4 Watch, you fast only to argue and to brawl and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard up high. 5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble his soul? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in rags and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day favoured by to Yahveh? 6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to untie the bonds of injustice, to unfasten the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to tear apart every yoke?
God was watching, and he did not like what he saw. He saw his people declaring regular fasts, and putting on a show like they wanted to be in God’s presence, then using that time as an excuse to whine about God. In the meantime, these same people were putting heavy burdens on their own workers, and even using their fast times to justify the mistreatment of others. The irony is that the people were whining in their worship that God was not looking. The problem was not that God was not looking. The problem was that God was looking. He saw their hypocrisy. He saw them using worship to enhance their own feelings of superiority and self-righteousness. That kind of whiners worship does get God’s attention, but it does not please him.
LORD, forgive us for making worship about us. When we come into your presence, keep us focused on you. Deliver us from the bondage to ourselves. We choose to take our agenda off the table, and look up to you.