People Must Be Told to Follow God
1Shout as loud as you can and don’t stop.
Shout like a trumpet!
Tell the people what they did wrong.
Tell the family of Jacob about their sins.
2They still come every day to worship me,
acting as if they want to learn my ways.
They pretend to be a nation that lives right
and obeys the commands of their God.
They ask me to judge them fairly.
They want their God to be near them.
3They say, “We fast to show honor to you. Why don’t you see us? We starve our bodies to show honor to you. Why don’t you notice us?”
But God says, “You do things to please yourselves on those special days of fasting. And you punish your servants, not your own bodies. 4You are hungry, but not for food. You are hungry for arguing and fighting, not for bread. You are hungry to hit people with your evil hands. This is not the way to fast if you want your prayers to be heard in heaven! 5Do you think I want to see people punish their bodies on those days of fasting? Do you think I want people to look sad and bow their heads like dead plants? Do you think I want people to wear mourning clothes and sit in ashes to show their sadness? That is what you do on your days of fasting. Do you think that is what the Lord wants?
6“I will tell you the kind of day I want—a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. 7I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help.”
8If you do these things, your light will begin to shine like the light of dawn. Then your wounds will heal. Your “Goodness” will walk in front of you, and the Glory of the Lord will come following behind you. 9Then you will call to the Lord, and he will answer you. You will cry out to him, and he will say, “Here I am.”
Stop causing trouble and putting burdens on people. Stop saying things to hurt people or accusing them of things they didn’t do. 10Feel sorry for hungry people and give them food. Help those who are troubled and satisfy their needs. Then your light will shine in the darkness. You will be like the bright sunshine at noon.
11The Lord will always lead you and satisfy your needs in dry lands. He will give strength to your bones. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring that never goes dry.
12Your cities have been destroyed for many years, but you will rebuild them and their foundations will last for a long time. You will be called “Fence Fixer” and “Builder of Roads and Houses.”
13That will happen when you stop sinning against God’s law about the Sabbath and when you stop doing things to please yourself on that special day. You should call the Sabbath a happy day. You should honor the Lord’s special day by not saying and doing things that you do every other day of the week. 14Then you could enjoy the Lord. As the Lord himself says, “I could carry you up to the highest mountain and let you enjoy the land that I gave to your father Jacob.”