DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-07-24
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: Isaiah 58:3-4; 6-9;
TRANSLATION: Good News Translation (GNT)
BIBLE TEXT: 3 The people ask, “Why should we fast if the Lord never notices? Why should we go without food if he pays no attention?”
The Lord says to them, “The truth is that at the same time you fast, you pursue your own interests and oppress your workers. 4 Your fasting makes you violent, and you quarrel and fight. Do you think this kind of fasting will make me listen to your prayers?…..
6 “The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. 7 Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives. 8 “Then my favor will shine on you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed. I will always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every side. 9 When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond….
OBSERVATION: Some of you will have fasted for various personal reasons, and some may have participated in a corporate fast by your church. Some may have studied the Bible to determine the meaning, and the purpose of, a fast, while others may have simply took the word of a pastor and agreed to join a group fast at church for a worthwhile purpose. Whatever your stance is on fasting, I want to share with you something that God really spoke to my heart on today about the subject. You see, He made it clear through the prophet Isaiah that He could see right through individuals who pretend, or enter into a serious matter like fasting. But best of all, He then explains what really pleases Him when we fast. Join me as we meditate on what ‘True Fasting’ is, according to God Himself.
APPLICATION: Many of you might be similar to me, where we probably learn a lot about fasting from our doctor when they want a fasting blood test! Some may have practiced fasting during a time that you wanted to purge your body of certain impurities and refill it with good healthy foods that diet fanatics always bug you about!! However, some of you may have been so burdened about a need that you found it challenging to develop an appetite for food, until you could see a resolution. But what did you do to fill your time that would have ordinarily been filled with meal times? Ever remember a time that you were so burdened about something or someone that you spent an unbelievable amount of time in the presence of God, praying about those burdens or concerns? In fact, you may have been so deep in communion with God that you never even noticed that a regular mealtime had come and gone. Let me encourage you to use my Scripture link to look at the whole chapter of Isaiah 58, for I merely chose a few verses to try and share a small portion of what God really had to say in that chapter. You see, the Israelites were no different to us at times when we go to a prayer meeting and pour our hearts out to the God of this universe, while knowing full well that we didn’t treat our coworkers well today, we left home in a sour and mean attitude with our spouse while also shouting at the kids. Do I need to remind you that our God knows all about our selfish, mean, spirit that shows itself way too often? Notice in the first few verses that God wanted the Israelites to know that they can’t pull anything off on Him, for He knows full well what they are really like. BUT, I really want you to look very closely at verses 6 & 7, for God explains what He is looking for in our fasting. Friends, I believe that for the child of God that is constantly giving to others in need, our God will gladly hear their cry for more of something, and He will be touched by their fasting for what they truly feel a need from God for. It is also clear that God is more apt to listen to His children that try every day to honor His Word, obey His commands and love others like He taught us to. This all boils down to being the child that God expects, and not just one who is willing to give up food in order to beg something of God. From a pure heart, the cry of an honest and sincere person will be heard by God and acted on by a God who knows if we need it, when we need it, and for whose pleasure it will be used. We may fool ourselves into thinking that we look good in the eyes of the pastor, or other leaders in the church, but God looks at the heart and determines how well we are doing with Him when we come before him. We can then rest assured in verse 9: ‘Then He will answer our prayers’! Praise be to God for His wisdom, love and all-powerful hand!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, how ashamed we should be at times when we bow before You and plead for things, knowing that our hearts are so tainted by the sin that has overwhelmed us over recent hours and days. Please forgive us Lord. We can’t fool You. We often beg you for things thought impossible by man, yet we feel like we could hide things from You. Whether in normal conversation with You or in deep times of fasting, please help us to always look inward first. Take care of everything that separates us from You, before asking You to favor us with answered prayer. You are most holy, and we are not. Please help us to seek Your cleansing before anything else. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!