Having the Right Heart and Attitude

Isaiah is almost sarcastic at the beginning of Chapter 58:

Yet day after day they seek me

and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness

and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments,

they delight to draw near to God.”

I added the italics on “as if.” That phrase reveals the points to come. The people say they seek God, but there is something wrong. Wonder what it is?

“Why do we fast, but you do not see?

Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”

So the people are also asking of God what’s wrong. In our terms they are saying, “We go to church. We donated to the church. Why does it seem that you are against us?”

Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,

and oppress all your workers.

Ah, now we have reached the point that God charges against them. Two points really. First, when they “fast” or worship, their attention is not on God. It is on themselves. They fast only to serve their own interests. Then look at the last phrase. We’ll study more on that later. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spiritual teaching that does not also include a moral teaching–a teaching on the way we treat other people. Those seem to go hand-in-hand.

“What is the greatest commandment?” asked the teacher to the Teacher. Jesus replied with the Shema about worshiping the Lord. Then he said that the second commandment was as important as the first–to love your neighbor as yourself.

These people were thinking of ways to take advantage of people in their community even while worshiping God. This is abhorrent to God, the God who wanted to build a community focused on Him.

When I teach the Spiritual Disciplines, I always begin with the proper attitude. Simply practicing the Disciplines will do you little good. It begins with the right attitude.

Same with leadership. Beware this judgement of Isaiah in your practice of leadership. Take care of your attitude.

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