What Does God Really Want? Part 1

I love to study the Bible and I equally love finding out what God thinks, what He wants, what He likes and doesn’t like. As it happens I’m currently doing an in-depth study on the word “desire” and all it’s forms in the Bible.  I’m doing this to dig deeper into a revelation I saw while cross referencing a couple of passages.  In the process of looking up scriptures that contain the word desire I came upon a passage in Isaiah that I am quite familiar with but today I saw it with fresh eyes since I was looking from a different perspective.  It so gripped me that I needed to sit down and write about it.  There is too much to put in one blog so this will be a series of three in which I take one section at a time.  So don’t judge me too soon.  It’s starts out a little rough but it gets oh so much better!

Isaiah 57 has just explained how the wicked live and pay no attention to how the righteous live or what happens to them.  And even when the righteous do wrong God promises to restore the backslider because He says no one’s spirit within him could handle His silence for too long.  Yet the wicked are promised to no peace at all. (The word wicked there means the ungodly) So I was a little confused when I began to read our text. The Scripture passage is Isaiah 58

58 “Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek Me daily,
And delight to know My ways,
As a nation that did righteousness,
And did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen?
Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’

It begins by God telling Isaiah to tell the children of Israel what they are doing wrong yet the following description looks by all accounts to be the right things to do.   They are seeking Him daily and delight to know His ways. They want justice and delight in approaching God.  They’ve even fasted!  So what’s the problem?  Why would God say that this is what they are doing wrong?  Well if we read on we will begin to see the problem.

“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure,
And exploit all your laborers.
Indeed you fast for strife and debate,
And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You will not fast as you do this day,
To make your voice heard on high.
Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the Lord?

 

They were performing all the outward tasks and they even liked doing them.  He said they had pleasure in them but they were doing them all for the wrong reasons.  I’m sure we’ve all been there.  We are going through the motions but our hearts, if we’re willing to look, have the wrong motives.  It’s not easy being honest with ourselves but the crazy truth is we aren’t fooling the one whom we are supposedly doing them for.  He see’s everything!  He’s a discerner of our thoughts.
In the midst of our works and service God never wants strife among His children.  They were actually fighting with one another and taking advantage of one another.  They argued and debated which Paul says we should never do.  It doesn’t accomplish anything but division.  God say’s when did I ever tell you to do a fast like that?  It’s all just meaningless rituals at this point.
When we don’t examine ourselves we lose plain and simple.  We’re no better then the wicked who are far from Him.  Being His, being His disciple means being like Him.  It means loving what He loves and hating what He hates.  And yes I did say hate.  He’s been so good to us to show us how to live not just in word but also in example.  Jesus modeled the Father to us so we could enter into His provision and peace.  We will go on in part 2 to explain what God really wants but the kicker is it benefits you.  He’s not a slave driver or someone who’s difficult and hard to please.  No, the truth is, everything He asks of us is for us.
Take some time today and lets examine ourselves honestly.  Why do we do what we do “in His name”?  Is it really for Him?  If it is then that truly is wonderful.  If we need to work on it the good news is that’s all He wants.
Be Blessed today in His presence and I’ll see you in Part 2.

 

By Jaime Luce

One thought on “What Does God Really Want? Part 1

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