When You Fast! Men Should Not Notice That You Are Fasting.
“Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?” Isaiah 58:5 (KJV)
Fasting is not just abstinence from food. It is more than that. To know what fasting is not, let us look at the Message translation of our text for today, “Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?” Isaiah 58:5 (MSG).
Wearing a long face and not using perfume, cologne, or make up is not what fasting is about. Refusing to comb your hair, have your bath, or talk to people is not fasting. In actual fact, men should not even notice that you are fasting because your countenance should be as cheerful as it always is. Fasting is an act done between you and God, except if it is a corporate fast where everyone knows about the event.
While that is true, you must also be careful not to be involved in rancour, malice, and other acts that are not in consonance with the word of God. Isaiah 58:4, still the Message translation, takes the issue of fasting deeper. In Isaiah 58:3 (MSG), the people actually complained, “Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?” I will tell you why! It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing others. Did you understand that? As you engage in the fast, be conscious of the fact that God is willing and ready to answer you. You are not praying to change His mind; rather, you are praying to align yourself with the word of God.
My prayer for you is that you will come out with visible evidence of the fast. God will exceed your expectations; grace will be available to you in Jesus name. Amen!
58 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 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.
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?
Daily Bible Reading:
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