Isaiah 58 & Matthew 6

Isaiah 58

    “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
        lift up your voice like a trumpet;
    declare to my people their transgression,
        to the house of Jacob their sins.
    Yet they seek me daily
        and delight to know my ways,
    as if they were a nation that did righteousness
        and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
    they ask of me righteous judgments;
        they delight to draw near to God.
    ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
        Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
    Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
        and oppress all your workers.
    Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
        and to hit with a wicked fist.
    Fasting like yours this day
        will not make your voice to be heard on high.
    Is such the fast that I choose,
        a day for a person to humble himself?
    Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
        and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
    Will you call this a fast,
        and a day acceptable to the LORD?
    “Is not this the fast that I choose:
        to loose the bonds of wickedness,
        to undo the straps of the yoke,
    to let the oppressed go free,
        and to break every yoke?
    Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
        and bring the homeless poor into your house;
    when you see the naked, to cover him,
        and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
    Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
        and your healing shall spring up speedily;
    your righteousness shall go before you;
        the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
    Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
        you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
    If you take away the yoke from your midst,
        the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
    if you pour yourself out for the hungry
        and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
    then shall your light rise in the darkness
        and your gloom be as the noonday.
    And the LORD will guide you continually
        and satisfy your desire in scorched places
        and make your bones strong;
    and you shall be like a watered garden,
        like a spring of water,
        whose waters do not fail.
    And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
        you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
    you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
        the restorer of streets to dwell in.
    “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
        from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
    and call the Sabbath a delight
        and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
    if you honor it, not going your own ways,
        or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
    then you shall take delight in the LORD,
        and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
    I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
        for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

(Isaiah 58 ESV)

Matthew 6

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

    “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

    “Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread,
    and forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation,
        but deliver us from evil.
        For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

    “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

    “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

(Matthew 6 ESV)

Matthew 6: As Jesus remains seated upon the mountain teaching this large crowd the principles of Kingdom living, He begins to address the nature of true spirituality in everyday life. We often try to divide life into the spiritual and material, but Jesus never made that kind of distinction. Kingdom people recognize our King’s authority over all things in life and use all things for the glory of our King and the advancement of His Kingdom.

In his best selling book, Radical, author David Platt declares that “we stand amid an American dream dominated by self-advancement, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency.” The tragic reality is our obliviousness to the poor investment of investing in ourselves. We casually wander down the path of self-advancement seeking to use the resources we accumulate along the way for the establishment our own kingdoms. Our safety, security, and satisfaction become misplaced in a temporary self-made kingdom that will inevitably meet its end. 

A true disciple’s loyalties cannot be divided between two kingdoms. Our love for Jesus should lead us to invest in His Kingdom alone. After all, it is life with Him that offers the eternal safety, security, and satisfaction we all desire in the first place.