Thursday 22nd December 2011
Do You Fast? – Pt. 2
Saying No To Your Flesh…
“One Way To Begin To See How Vastly Indulgent We Usually Are Is To Fast. It Is A Long Day That Is Not Broken By The Usual Three Meals. One Finds Out What An Astonishing Amount Of Time Is Spent In The Planning, Purchasing, Preparing, Eating, And Cleaning Up Of Meals.” - Elizabeth Elliot
“If You Say “I Will Fast When God Lays It On My Heart,” You Never Will. You Are Too Cold And Indifferent To Take That Yoke Upon You.” - Dwight L Moody
Biblical Principles To Keep In Mind..
A) Fasting Is An Assumed Discipline By The New Testament…
Matt. 6:16 ¶ “And When You Fast, Don’t Make It Obvious, As The Hypocrites Do, Who Try To Look Pale And Disheveled So People Will Admire Them For Their Fasting. I Assure You, That Is The Only Reward They Will Ever Get.
Matt. 9:14 ¶ One Day The Disciples Of John The Baptist Came To Jesus And Asked Him, “Why Do We And The Pharisees Fast, But Your Disciples Don’t Fast?”
Matt. 9:15 ¶ Jesus Responded, “Should The Wedding Guests Mourn While Celebrating With The Groom? Someday He Will Be Taken From Them, And Then They Will Fast.
B) The Length Of A Fast Is Voluntary…
The Biblical Principle Here Is That The Length Of Time You Fast Is Determined By Your Own Desires And The Occasion Or Purpose Of The Fast. The Duration Can Be That Which The Individual Or Group Feels Led To Set. There Is A Great Deal Of Freedom In The Lord Here. However, The More Common Practice Of A “Normal Fast” Appears To Be One Day.
C) A Fast Was Usually One Day. In Addition To The Day Of Atonement (Leviticus 23:32)…Examples Of One Day Fasts…
Judg. 20:26 Then All The Israelites Went Up To Bethel And Wept In The Presence Of The LORD And Fasted Until Evening. They Also Brought Burnt Offerings And Peace Offerings To The LORD.
1Sam. 14:24 Now The Men Of Israel Were Worn Out That Day, Because Saul Had Made Them Take An Oath, Saying, “Let A Curse Fall On Anyone Who Eats Before Evening—Before I Have Full Revenge On My Enemies.” So No One Ate A Thing All Day,
2 Sam. 1:12 They Mourned And Wept And Fasted All Day For Saul And His Son Jonathan, And For The Lord’s Army And The Nation Of Israel, Because So Many Had Died That Day.
2 Sam. 3:35 David Had Refused To Eat Anything The Day Of The Funeral, And Now Everyone Begged Him To Eat. But David Had Made A Vow, Saying, “May God Kill Me If I Eat Anything Before Sundown.”
Some Fasts Were Longer… At The Burial Of Saul The Fast Was Seven Days…
1Sam. 31:13 Then They Took Their Remains And Buried Them Beneath The Tamarisk Tree At Jabesh, And They Fasted For Seven Days.
David Also Fasted Seven Days When His Child Was Ill…
2 Sam.12:16 David Begged God To Spare The Child. He Went Without Food And Lay All Night On The Bare Ground.
2 Sam. 12:17 The Leaders Of The Nation Pleaded With Him To Get Up And Eat With Them, But He Refused.
2 Sam. 2:18 Then On The Seventh Day The Baby Died. David’s Advisers Were Afraid To Tell Him. “He Was So Broken Up About The Baby Being Sick,” They Said. “What Will He Do To Himself When We Tell Him The Child Is Dead?”
The Longest Fasts We Find In The Bible Were For Forty Days…
Moses (2 Times)…
Deut. 9:9 That Was When I Was On The Mountain Receiving The Tablets Of Stone Inscribed With The Covenant That The LORD Had Made With You. I Was There For Forty Days And Forty Nights, And All That Time I Ate Nothing And Drank No Water.
Deut. 9:18 Then For Forty Days And Nights I Lay Prostrate Before The LORD, Neither Eating Bread Nor Drinking Water. I Did This Because You Had Sinned By Doing What The LORD Hated, Thus Making Him Very Angry.
Ex. 34:28 ¶Moses Was Up On The Mountain With The LORD Forty Days And Forty Nights. In All That Time He Neither Ate Nor Drank. At That Time He Wrote The Terms Of The Covenant—The Ten Commandments—On The Stone Tablets.
1Kings 19:8 ¶ So He Got Up And Ate And Drank, And The Food Gave Him Enough Strength To Travel Forty Days And Forty Nights To Mount Sinai, The Mountain Of God.
Matt. 4:2 For Forty Days And Forty Nights He Ate Nothing And Became Very Hungry.
D) Fasting Does Not Negate Our Responsibility Of Obedience…
Fasting Does Not Impress God With Our Spirituality To The Point That He Ignores Our Disobedience. On The Contrary, Genuine Fasting Will Always Cause Us To Examine Our Hearts To Make Sure Everything Is Right With Him…
Is. 58:3 ‘We Have Fasted Before You!’ They Say. ‘Why Aren’t You Impressed? We Have Done Much Penance, And You Don’t Even Notice It!’ “I Will Tell You Why! It’s Because You Are Living For Yourselves Even While You Are Fasting. You Keep Right On Oppressing Your Workers.
Is. 58:4 What Good Is Fasting When You Keep On Fighting And Quarreling? This Kind Of Fasting Will Never Get You Anywhere With Me. (NlT)
Fasting & Prayer Changed The Course Of History…
Fasting & Prayer Of The Early Church Changed The Course Of History. It Is Almost Impossible To Overstate The Historical Importance Of This Moment In Antioch In The History Of The World. Before This Word From The Holy Spirit There Seems To Have Been No Organized Mission Of The Church Beyond The Eastern Seacoast Of The Mediterranean. Before This, Paul Had Made No Missionary Journeys Westward To Asian Minor, Greece, Or Rome, Or Spain. Before This Paul Had Not Written Any Of His Letters Which Were All The Result Of His Missionary Travels Beginning Here.
This Moment Of Prayer And Fasting Resulted In A Missions Movement That Would Make Christianity The Dominant Religion Of The Roman Empire Within Two And A Half Centuries And Would Yield 1.3 Billion Adherents Of The Christian Religion Today With A Christian Witness In Virtually Every Country Of The World. And 13 Out Of The 29 Books Of The New Testament Were The Result Of The Ministry That Was Launched In This Moment Of Prayer And Fasting.
It Happened In Britain In 1756…
John Wesley Tells Us In His Journal Of A Similar Kind Of Deliverance In 1756. The King Of Britain Called For A Day Of Solemn Prayer And Fasting Because Of A Threatened Invasion Of The French. Wesley Wrote,
The Fast Day Was A Glorious Day, Such As London Has Scarce Seen Since The Restoration. Every Church In The City Was More Than Full, And A Solemn Seriousness Sat On Every Face. Surely God Heareth Prayer, And There Will Yet Be A Lengthening Of Our Tranquility.
Then In A Footnote He Added Later, “Humility Was Turned Into National Rejoicing For The Threatened Invasion By The French Was Averted.” It Would Not Be Difficult To Multiply Story After Story From The Bible And After The Bible To Show That Fasting And Prayer Have Changed The Course Of History. We Will See In The Coming Weeks That This Is Especially True In The Way Fasting Figures Into Times Of Great Revival.
But Let Me Try To Put Our Focus On Fasting And Our Call To Fast In The Wider Context Of What God Seems To Be Doing Today, And Then What He May Be Doing At Bethlehem.
Here Are 7 Biblical Purposes Of Fasting…
1. To Humble Ourselves…
Psalms 35:13 But As For Me, When They Were Sick, My Clothing Was Sackcloth: I Humbled My Soul With Fasting; And My Prayer Returned Into Mine Own Bosom.
1Kings 21:29 Seest Thou How Ahab Humbleth Himself Before Me? Because He Humbleth Himself Before Me, I Will Not Bring The Evil In His Days: But In His Son’s Days Will I Bring The Evil Upon His House.
2. To Come Closer To God…
Jeremiah 29:13 And Ye Shall Seek Me, And Find Me, When Ye Shall Search For Me With All Your Heart.
Jeremiah 29:14 And I Will Be Found Of You, Saith The LORD: And I Will Turn Away Your Captivity, And I Will Gather You From All The Nations, And From All The Places Whither I Have Driven You, Saith The LORD; And I Will Bring You Again Into The Place Whence I Caused You To Be Carried Away Captive.
Joel 2:12 ¶ Therefore Also Now, Saith The LORD, Turn Ye Even To Me With All Your Heart, And With Fasting, And With Weeping, And With Mourning:
“Fasting Helps To Express, To Deepen, And To Confirm The Resolution That We Are Ready To Sacrifice Anything – To Sacrifice Ourselves – To Attain What We Seek For The Kingdom Of God.”
3. To Understand God’s Word…
Psalms 119:18 Open Thou Mine Eyes, That I May Behold Wondrous Things Out Of Thy Law.
4. To Find God’s Will And Direction In Our Lives…
Ezra 8:21 Then I Proclaimed A Fast There, At The River Of Ahava, That We Might Afflict Ourselves Before Our God, To Seek Of Him A Right Way For Us, And For Our Little Ones, And For All Our Substance.
Acts 13:2 As They Ministered To The Lord, And Fasted, The Holy Ghost Said, Separate Me Barnabas And Saul For The Work Whereunto I Have Called Them.
Acts 13:3 And When They Had Fasted And Prayed, And Laid Their Hands On Them, They Sent Them Away.
Acts 13:4 ¶ So They, Being Sent Forth By The Holy Ghost, Departed Unto Seleucia; And From Thence They Sailed To Cyprus.
5. To Seek Healing Or Deliverance…
Isaiah 58:8 Then Shall Thy Light Break Forth As The Morning, And Thine Health Shall Spring Forth Speedily: And Thy Righteousness Shall Go Before Thee; The Glory Of The LORD Shall Be Thy Rereward.
6. For God’s Intervention In A Crisis…
For Example, The Moabites And Ammonites And Meunites Came Against Jehoshaphat The King Of Judah. It Was A Terrifying Horde Of Violent People. What Could The People Do? What Direction Should They Turn?
2Chronicles 20:3 And Jehoshaphat Feared, And Set Himself To Seek The LORD, And Proclaimed A Fast Throughout All Judah.
2Chronicles 20:4 And Judah Gathered Themselves Together, To Ask Help Of The LORD: Even Out Of All The Cities Of Judah They Came To Seek The LORD.
2Chronicles 20:14 Then Upon Jahaziel The Son Of Zechariah, The Son Of Benaiah, The Son Of Jeiel, The Son Of Mattaniah, A Levite Of The Sons Of Asaph, Came The Spirit Of The LORD In The Midst Of The Congregation;
2Chronicles 20:15 And He Said, Hearken Ye, All Judah, And Ye Inhabitants Of Jerusalem, And Thou King Jehoshaphat, Thus Saith The LORD Unto You, Be Not Afraid Nor Dismayed By Reason Of This Great Multitude; For The Battle Is Not Yours, But God’s.
The Next Day When The People Of Judah Went Out, They Found That The People Of Moab And Ammon Had Destroyed One Another, And It Took Them Three Days To Gather The Spoil, There Was So Much. What Looked Like Defeat And Calamity Was Overnight Turned Into Stunning Triumph.
Again The Course Of History Was Changed Through The Fasting Of God’s People.
7. To Intercede And Pray On Behalf Of Others (Make A Written List Of Objectives)…
Matthew 6:2 Therefore When Thou Doest Thine Alms, Do Not Sound A Trumpet Before Thee, As The Hypocrites Do In The Synagogues And In The Streets, That They May Have Glory Of Men. Verily I Say Unto You, They Have Their Reward.
Matthew 6:3 But When Thou Doest Alms, Let Not Thy Left Hand Know What Thy Right Hand Doeth:
Matthew 6:4 That Thine Alms May Be In Secret: And Thy Father Which Seeth In Secret Himself Shall Reward Thee Openly.
Matthew 6:5 ¶ And When Thou Prayest, Thou Shalt Not Be As The Hypocrites Are: For They Love To Pray Standing In The Synagogues And In The Corners Of The Streets, That They May Be Seen Of Men. Verily I Say Unto You, They Have Their Reward.
Matthew 6:6 But Thou, When Thou Prayest, Enter Into Thy Closet, And When Thou Hast Shut Thy Door, Pray To Thy Father Which Is In Secret; And Thy Father Which Seeth In Secret Shall Reward Thee Openly.
Matthew 6:7 But When Ye Pray, Use Not Vain Repetitions, As The Heathen Do: For They Think That They Shall Be Heard For Their Much Speaking.
Matthew 6:8 Be Not Ye Therefore Like Unto Them: For Your Father Knoweth What Things Ye Have Need Of, Before Ye Ask Him.
Matthew 6:16 ¶ Moreover When Ye Fast, Be Not, As The Hypocrites, Of A Sad Countenance: For They Disfigure Their Faces, That They May Appear Unto Men To Fast. Verily I Say Unto You, They Have Their Reward.
Matthew 6:17 But Thou, When Thou Fastest, Anoint Thine Head, And Wash Thy Face;
Matthew 6:18 That Thou Appear Not Unto Men To Fast, But Unto Thy Father Which Is In Secret: And Thy Father, Which Seeth In Secret, Shall Reward Thee Openly.
I see the word Where is peace and joy found? God’s word tells us peace in Joy is found in Him, He is my peace and Knowing He loves me and I am His, the gift of life and having my sins fvigroen and removed should cause joy to fill my heart. I have experienced that kind of joy, that cannot be stolen, because it is NOT in things or in temporal relationships. the enemy knows where I seek joy outside of God, He is the JOY STEALER . the only way he can steal my joy is if I choose to find joy in those things. Jesus is my ROCK, He has given me the Joy of my salvation. Keeping my mind focused on His truth, that is when I am filled with His joy and peace. Rom 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks
Hello.This post was extremely fascinating, particularly because I was searching for thoughts on this issue last Wednesday.
You Are Welcome… Thank You For Commenting…
Sign up and get my blog posts sent straight to your inbox.