"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew 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 forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God." (Isaiah 58:1-2)
In this chapter, the Lord strips away the religious mask of His people and reveals the true heart behind their religion. Isaiah is commanded to preach with his full strength. A show of religion is a serious matter, and the insincere worshiper must be made to understand his condition, for it is serious.
On the outside, the Israelites sought God. Isaiah 1:11-15 demonstrates that there was no lack of religion in Israel; but there was a lack of relationship. Daily, the Israelites sought God externally. They approached His alter and inquired of Him. The sentence, they ask of me the ordinances of justice, seems to imply that the Israelites were asking God to bring retribution upon Israel's enemies. Outwardly, the people approached God, but their motives were impure. The same insincere heart is evident in the Israelites when, after the destruction of Jerusalem, they asked Jeremiah to inquire of God's will for them and promised to do whatever He said (Jeremiah 42).