Topic: The Acceptable Fast
Text: Isaiah 58: 5
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Amen
To fast is to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. The aim is to subdue the flesh and its desires so the spirit can yield easily to God.
In Matthew 17, Jesus’ disciples, after several attempts to cast out a demon, saw Jesus do it with such ease. So they asked Jesus why they could not do same. Jesus in addition to telling them that it was due to their unbelief, also told them of how that particular type needed fasting and prayer. (Matt. 17: 21)
From the above, it can be induced that greater power is released when we fast and pray the word of God. However, there is a form of fasting that seems very displeasing to God.
The people of Israel were asking God “Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ (Isaiah 58 :3)
In response, God tells them;
“Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?”
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”(Isaiah 58 :4 -7).
“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.” (Isaiah 58 :9)
Fasting regularly helps you empty your selfish nature and makes you responsive to the needs of others. And as you seek to meet the needs of others, God meets your needs as well.
Very clearly, this form of expression of God’s love to one another while we wait on Him in fast actually releases the power we need to bring the miracles we desire. So as we go about our walk with God, prayer, bible study, obedience, righteous living and fasting must be inevitable. However, in observing those, we must be careful to do them the right and acceptable way that is pleasing to the Lord. Other wise, we will be pleasing men and deceiving ourselves with a claim of intimacy with God that truly isn’t there.
(www.yonghana.org; Like our Facebook page: Y OUTREACH NETWORK)