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Saturday, June 29, 2024


6-29-2024 Why do we Fast

                                                           Weaken                                                    Submit

As I read Isaiah chapter 58, Father had me focus on several verses, but also had me read the whole chapter to fully understand what was happening.

The first four verses speak of how Israel fasts and prays and honors the Sabbath, but as they do, we see that it is for their own satisfaction.  They ‘do’ the right things, but for the ‘wrong’ reasons, personal gain.  Then they wonder why God does not hear them.  When we fast for God, we should make extra effort to do those things which please Him.  Truly, why are we fasting? 

Father starts explaining “His” fast in verse 5.  First, He asks us to afflict our soul.  That is to anah (H6031) deal harshly with, weaken or – submit – ourselves totally to Him.  

Then to bow down as a bulrush in the wind.  Bulrush comes from the Hebrew  gome (H1573) the papyrus plant which is very absorbent, and gome comes from gama  (H1572) which is to absorb, drink, swallow.  When we fast, we are to completely humble and absorb ourselves in the Lord to take in what He wants us to know, yet at the same time, eliminate the negative.

Father then says we should spread sackcloth, sprinkle it with ashes then ‘have a seat’.  The word used for Sackcloth is saq (H8042) which is a porous cloth (like a burlap bag) so water can pass through without collecting on and spoiling any grain which it might contain.  It is also used for mourning (showing remorse).  The ashes (epher H665) carries the connotation of ashes being strewn around.  It is also akin to apher (H666) which is using ashes as a covering (literally pouring them over oneself).  We should cover ourselves in submission and receive a cleansing from the Lord as all the negatives in our lives wash down, to and through the sackcloth with nothing sticking (staying) to us as it passes through.  The ‘crud’ is washed away while we (the vessel) remain clean. Isaiah asks that if we fast in this way, is it acceptable to the Lord?  Being humble, total submission, total surrender. What do you think?

Then Father asks “isn’t this the fast I have chosen” (v6)?  It will loose the bands of wickedness and unload our heavy burdens.  All who are oppressed shall be set free and yokes shall be broken.  So what does fasting do?  We are freed from the sin that has had us bound! 

Should we feed the hungry?  Take into our homes the castaways?  Should we give clothing to the naked?  Hide ourselves from our own flesh (that is not yielding to fleshly desires)?  I think this is being honest with ourselves, who we are and not pretending we’re something that we are not.  And a desire to help others to be free of their bonds. To me, that means cleansing our sins as we fast being totally honest, totally open with the Lord.  Shedding the undesirable so the ‘new man’ can emerge and so, then, we might be able to serve the Lord better and help others. 

So then what happens?  The light will come on and we shall see clearly.  Just like the rising sun as it brings morning light into the world, chasing away the darkness.  We will see the answer to that for which we are fasting.  We will heal quicker and our righteousness (in Jesus) will walk before us.  Our reward?  The glory of the Lord (v8) will lead our way and give us favor before man (Prov. 3:1-4).

Once we’ve cleansed ourselves and are living as Father intended, THEN He will hear us and answer our call, our prayer.  We cry, He will perk up His eyebrows, open His ears and say “Yes, My child”, when we have shed the yoke holding us down, quit pointing our finger (accusing others) and setting aside all prideful speaking (v9) then, we ae on the right track.

When our compassion urges us to feed the hungry and satisfy the needs of those afflicted, then the light will come out of nowhere and make the darkness of night like the noonday sun (V10).”  We will begin to understand.  There is no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).  That is to consider the welfare of others around us. 

Isaiah continues with God’s promises that He will always guide us.  In times of drought He will satisfy our soul.  We will be fully prepared for what comes our way.  Because we have fasted, we shall be like a garden, fed by springs of water that do not fail (v11). 

We (he or she) shall be called as one who repairs broken things and our offspring shall rebuild the wastelands.  We shall raise up a foundation for many generations and restore places where people can live safely (v12).

If we turn our foot, which has strayed from the Sabbath, that is quit doing our own pleasures on the Holy days, then we can truly call the Sabbath a delight.  As we acknowledge that which is holy of the Lord and that which is honorable as we honor Him, that is not seeking our own pleasures (what’s in it for me) nor seeking our own desires nor speaking our own words (that is what’s on ‘our’ own, unbridled mind), then Father will continue having an open and compassionate heart for us.  We need to choose our words carefully, considering their impact (v13).

Then delight ourselves in the Lord and He will cause us to ride upon high places of the earth and feed us with the heritage of Jacob’s father ((Isaac)(v14).  What was Jacob’s heritage?  Canaan, the ‘promised land’ (Exod. 3:8), the land flowing with milk and honey (good things).  Even for us today?  Yes!  That translates as a closer walk with the Lord and abiding in His blessings.

Keep in mind that the Jews knew how to all the right things – even when their heart had turned from the Lord. 

Today, are we any different?  Do we know what the bible says but then try to impress people with our knowledge?  It’s great we know the Word, but what is in our heart?  Does the true meaning of the bible yet escape us?  Are we content in just receiving and/or sharing the Word of God?   Do we see any results?  As we hear others speak, do we think ‘good preaching’, as the Word travels in one ear and out the other?   When we speak, do we expect to hear “Great preaching, brother!” as we focus more on the praises and compliments to bolster our own ego than what the Word is actually saying?  Yes, we do need encouragement and edification, but do we truly love God above all else (Mark 12:29-31)? 

Are we friendly with those in our fellowship but ignore all others?  Do we even ignore those who come into our fellowship to visit?  Or do we welcome them?  Are we truly concerned about our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  What about our ‘neighbor’?  Paul tells us to ‘edify’ those around us (Rom. 14:19) and that means all with whom we come in contact.  Treating each of them with dignity and respect – even when we might think they don’t deserve it.  Do that which edifies. 

As we fast, our prayer life will be right with the Lord and positive things will happen.  However, faith without works is dead.  So we don’t do works to get saved, but rather because we are saved.  We show our faith through our works (James 2:14-18).  Father does reward us because of our faithfulness (Heb. 11:6).  And our faithfulness is intensified through fasting.

When we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, we are confessing that He has come into this world in the flesh (1 John 4:2) and that He is exactly who He says He is, our Lord and Savior!  We acknowledge His supremacy over us and that it is He who has saved our soul from hell.  There is no other entrance into heaven save through Him (John 14:6).  As we love God, we discover that He truly loves us and because He loves us, He hears us!  When one truly does not love, he has no part in God.  Why?  Because God is love!  We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:1-11) and we want God to hear us. 

We love because we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) and God is love!  Image is the Hebrew word tselem (H6754) and means a phantom, illusion or resemblance, ergo a representative or likeness.  God is Spirit (John 4:24) but we are flesh, made of the earth (Gen. 2:7), yet the Spirit of God lives in us (John 14:17 and gives us power (Acts 1:8).  We have our human spirit which gives us temporary life but the Holy Ghost also lives in us giving us eternal life!  So, how are we made in the image of God.  (Back to 1st John).  God is love and we love because we are the image of God so we love others.  We express our imagery of the Father through our living. Fasting increases our capacity to love!

So why do we fast?  To show Father we are serious about what we say and do, so we can be true exponents of His love.  We yield ourselves to Him, as we fast, acknowledging His authority over us.  We also discover that through fasting, we are able to pursue His image (in our lives) each day, and grow into a new creature of love!

We show Father that we are serious about what we have set before Him, so fasting should be a major part of our prayer life. 

During our fast is a time to talk with our heavenly Father – One on one.  We can deny ourselves food and drink but if we don’t use that time to get up close and personal with Father – all we’ve done is not eat or drink for that specified time.  Give our fast a purpose.  We fast to strengthen ourselves, our walk with our Lord and Savior or to strengthen someone else.

Again why do we fast?  To honor God, to show we are serious about what we have set before Him.  Fasting also gets our hearts right with the Lord.  We fast to grow in our love.  So we can grow closer to Father and show a genuine love for those around us.  That is, to truly be the ‘image of God’ He desires us to be!

One more time!  Why do we fast?


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