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Isaiah 58 (New International Reader's Version)

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What True Worship Is All About

1 The LORD told me, "Shout out loud. Do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Tell my people that they have refused to obey me. Tell the family of Jacob how much they have sinned. 2 Day after day they worship me. They seem ready and willing to know how I want them to live. They act as if they were a nation that does what is right. They act as if they have not turned away from my commands. They claim to want me to give them fair decisions. They seem ready and willing to come near and worship me. 3 'We have gone without food,' they say. 'Why haven't you noticed it? We have made ourselves suffer. Why haven't you paid any attention to us?' "On the day when you fast, you do as you please. You take advantage of all of your workers. 4 When you fast, it ends in arguing and fighting. You hit one another with your fists. That is an evil thing to do. The way you are now fasting keeps your prayers from being heard in heaven. 5 Do you think that is the way I want you to fast? Is it only a time for a man to make himself suffer? Is it only for people to bow their heads like tall grass that is bent by the wind? Is it only for people to lie down on black cloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast? Do you think I can accept that? 6 "Here is the way I want you to fast. "Set free those who are held by chains without any reason. Untie the ropes that hold people as slaves. Set free those who are crushed. Break every evil chain. 7 Share your food with hungry people. Provide homeless people with a place to stay. Give naked people clothes to wear. Provide for the needs of your own family. 8 Then the light of my blessing will shine on you like the rising sun. I will heal you quickly. I will march out ahead of you. And my glory will follow behind you and guard you. That is because I always do what is right. 9 You will call out to me for help. And I will answer you. You will cry out. And I will say, 'Here I am.' "Get rid of the chains you use to hold others down. Stop pointing your finger at others as if they had done something wrong. Stop saying harmful things about them. 10 Work hard to feed hungry people. Satisfy the needs of those who are crushed. Then my blessing will light up your darkness. And the night of your suffering will become as bright as the noonday sun. 11 I will always guide you. I will satisfy your needs in a land that is baked by the sun. I will make you stronger. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water. You will be like a spring whose water never runs dry. 12 Your people will rebuild the cities that were destroyed long ago. And you will build again on the old foundations. You will be called The One Who Repairs Broken Walls. You will be called The One Who Makes City Streets Like New Again. 13 "Do not work on the Sabbath day. Do not do just anything you want to on my holy day. Make the Sabbath a day you can enjoy. Honor my holy day. Do not work on it. Do not do just anything you want to. Do not talk about things that are worthless. 14 Then you will find your joy in me. I will give you control over the most important places in the land. And you will enjoy all of the good things in the land I gave your father Jacob." The LORD has spoken.
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