A – Introduction:
This outline has been composed using the New English Bible, published by Oxford University and Cambridge University Presses in 1970. Much of the Book of Isaiah in this version has been written in Hebraic poetic form. This chapter was so done in its entirety. I feel that this translation and the poetic form make it easier to outline and to understand than the translation and the prosaic form of the Authorized King James Version.
B – Summary of the Outline:
(a) God directs the prophet to tell the people of their sins in a way that all will hear and understand.
(b) He points out that the people feel that they approach God properly.
(c) The people do not understand why their fasting is not accepted.
(d) God explains the hypocrisy of their fasting.
(e) He tells them that what they do is not required.
(f) He lists a number of concerns in regard to the poor and afflicted.
(g) He tells the benefits to the people if they correct these things.
(h) He lists a number of concerns in regard to the treatment of others.
(i) He tells the benefits to the people if they correct these things.
(j) He lists a number of concerns in regard to their failure to keep the Sabbath holy.
(k) He tells the benefits to the people if they keep the Sabbath holy.
C – The Outline:
(a) God’s Directive to the Prophet (verse 1):
- Shout aloud without restraint.
- Lift up your voice like a trumpet.
- Call God’s people to give account for their sins.
(b) How the People Approach God (verse 2):
- They ask counsel of God each day.
- They say that they delight in knowing His ways.
- They have acted rightly and have not forgotten the just laws.
- They ask for His righteous laws.
- They say that they delight in approaching God.
(c) The People’s Questions (verse 3):
- Why do we fast if God does not see it?
- Why do we sacrifice ourselves if God does not pay attention?
(d) God’s Criticisms of Their Fasts (verses 3 and 4):
- They serve their own interests when they fast.
- They cause their employees to work harder.
- Their fasts lead to arguing and striking each other with their fists.
- These actions in fasting cause God not to listen.
(e) An Improper Method of Fasting (verse 5):
- This type of fast is not required.
- Do not sacrifice yourselves in this way.
- Do not bend your head like a bulrush.
- Do not make your bed on sackcloth and ashes.
- Do you think that what you are doing is the way to fast?
(f) Conditions Presented (verses 6 and 7):
- This is what is required of you.
- You should loose the fetters of injustice.
- You should untie the knots of the yoke.
- You should snap every yoke and set free those who have been crushed.
- You should share your food with the hungry.
- You should provide room in your house for the homeless.
- You should provide clothing for those who lack clothes.
- You should not avoid the duties in taking care of your family.
(g) Rewards for Meeting the Conditions (verses 8 and 9):
- Your light will break forth like the dawn.
- You will grow healthy like a newly-healed wound.
- Your righteousness will go before you.
- The glory of God will be where you have been.
- The Lord will answer your prayers.
(h) Conditions Presented (verses 9 and 10):
- You should cease perverting justice.
- You should cease accusing others.
- You should cease laying false charges.
- You should feed the hungry from your plenteous supplies.
- You should satisfy the needs of the wretched.
(i) Rewards for Meeting the Conditions (verses 10-12):
- Your light will rise like dawn out of the darkness.
- Your dusk will be like noonday.
- The Lord will guide you continually.
- The Lord will satisfy your needs.
- The Lord will give you physical strength.
- You will be like a well-watered garden.
- You will be like the waters of a never-failing spring.
- Your kindred will restore the ancient the ancient ruins.
- You will build again on ancestral foundations.
- You will be called Rebuilder of broken walls and Restorer of houses in ruin.
(j) Conditions Presented (verse 13):
- You should cease disregarding the Sabbath.
- You should cease tending to your personal affairs on God’s holy day.
- You should call the Sabbath a day of joy.
- You should make the Lord’s holy day a day to be honored.
- You should not carry on your work or profession on that day.
- You should not seek your own interests or tend your affairs on that day.
(k) – Rewards for Meeting the Conditions (verse 14):
- You will find joy in the Lord.
- God will send you riding on the heights of the earth.
- You will have Jacob’s legacy to enjoy.
- The Lord has declared this.
D – The Sins of the People:
(a) They are more interested in themselves.
(b) They do not treat their workers well.
(c) They argue and fight among themselves.
(d) They follow the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law.
(e) They lack concern for the oppressed and the poor.
(f) They pervert justice.
(g) They accuse others falsely.
(h) They do not keep the Sabbath holy.
E – The Call to Repentance:
(a) The people’s sins are so serious that God instructs His prophet to warn them loudly and clearly.
(b) God tells the people how they can find favor with Him.
(c) He offers great blessings to them if they forsake their ways and follow His instruction.
(d) All blessings are conditional to the meeting of requirements set forth by God.