Pointless Fasting

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Two-minute read.

“‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.”

Isaiah 58:3-7

Pointless fasting.

Living in disobedience, the people acted like they wanted to do God’s will, using fasting to show their earnestness. Obeying God came second to continuing their rebellious lifestyle; the people thought if they went through the motions of fasting, the Lord would let them continue doing what they wanted. Isaiah exposes their hypocrisy by pointing out their fasting didn’t come from a place of spiritual motivation. Fasting out of a sense of duty doesn’t produce fruitful prayers but causes irritability. The people made their laborers work harder, taking their foul moods out on them.

Trying to manipulate God doesn’t work. As we learned with Ahab, you can’t fool the Lord with half-hearted fasts meant only to gain your desires. Our Creator knows everything about us, including the motivations behind our actions. God didn’t put us on Earth to serve ourselves and meet our fleshly desires. Earnest and sincere fasting and prayer bring the Lord’s blessings, but half-hearted attempts don’t work.

“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Cor. 7:9-10

God wants repentant hearts that produce a godly grief. Repentance means “sorrow for anything done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequences of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.”[1]Recognizing and acknowledging our disobedience, then confessing it to the Lord, leads to receiving God’s saving grace and eternal life. 

Speaking to the house of Jacob, Isaiah pointed out their insincerity and why they didn’t receive an answer from the Lord.  God only listens to sincere hearts, filled with repentance, humbled before Him, that genuinely desire to align themselves with His will. When we come to the Lord with humility, He listens and answers. But foolish attempts to manipulate the Lord go unheard.

Don’t kid a kidder; don’t try to pull one over on the Lord.  God knows our hearts better than we do. Humbling ourselves before Him and seeking His will transforms our lives.

Journal Questions:

  • How can I apply today’s devotion to my life?
  • When have you tried to fool God?
  • How can you align your heart with God’s today?


Lord, thank You for loving us despite our sinful ways. Please help us to recognize and acknowledge our foolish behavior. Soften our hearts and let us come humbly before You, seeking Your will. Make us sensitive to the Holy Spirit within us, allowing us to align our hearts with Yours, obeying You in all we do. IJNIP. Amen


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