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October 13, 2011

THE FASTING GOD WANTS (OT)

FASTING AS DESCRIBED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

FASTING IS LINKED TO REPENTANCE

1 Samuel 7:6 So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the children ofIsrael at Mizpah.

Joel 2:12 [ A Call to Repentance ] “ Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “ Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly;

Jonah 3:5 [ The People of Nineveh Believe ] So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

Zechariah 7:1 [ Obedience Better than Fasting ] Now in the fourth year of King Darius it came to pass that the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, on the fourth day of the ninth month, Chislev,

Zechariah 7:3 and to ask the priests who were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?”

Zechariah 7:5 “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?

FASTING IS LINKED TO MOURNING

1 Samuel 31:13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days. 2 Samuel 1:12 And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

A KING’S PLEADING WITH GOD (personal sin) 2 Samuel 12:16 [ The Death of David’s Son ] And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.2 Samuel 12:21-23 Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

A QUEEN PLOTTING EVIL 1 Kings 21:9 She wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people; 1 Kings 21:12 They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people.

A KING HUMBLED BEFORE GOD (when condemned for his sin)1 Kings 21:27 So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.

A KING PLEADED BEFORE GOD (when faced with enemy attack) 2 Chronicles 20:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

PREPARATION FOR A SACRED JOURNEY Ezra 8:21 [ Fasting and Prayer for Protection ] Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. Ezra 8:23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.

REPENTANCE AND INTERCESSION (for nation and people)

Ezra 9:5 At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God.

Nehemiah 1:4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 9:1 [ The People Confess Their Sins ] Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads.

Esther 4:3 And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

Esther 4:16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

INTERCESSION & SUPPLICATION BEFORE GOD

Psalm 35:13 But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.

Psalm 69:10 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, That became my reproach.

Psalm 109:24 My knees are weak through fasting, And my flesh is feeble from lack of fatness.

WHAT GOD DOES NOT WANT FROM FASTING:

GOD DOES NOT WANT EXTERNAL PHYSICAL SHOW (whilst continuing to sin); GOD DOES NOT WANT FASTING WHICH IS SELF-CENTRED WITHOUT TRUE REVERANT FEAR OF GOD AND OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD:

Isaiah 58:3 ‘ Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “ In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. Isaiah 58:5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the LORD? Jeremiah 14:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.”

Isaiah 58:4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high.

WHAT GOD REALLY WANTS FROM FASTING: BREKING BONDAGES

Isaiah 58:6 “ Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?

PROCLAIMING GOD’S WORD
Jeremiah 36:6 You go, therefore, and read from the scroll which you have written at my instruction, the words of the LORD, in the hearing of the people in the LORD’s house on the day of fasting. And you shall also read them in the hearing of all Judah who come from their cities.

EVEN AN ALIEN KING FASTS BEFORE GOD TO PLEAD FOR HIS PEOPLE (DANIEL)

Daniel 6:18 [ Daniel Saved from the Lions ] Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him.

INTERCESSOR FASTS AND INTERCEDES FOR NATION

Daniel 9:3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

Joel 1:14 Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the LORD.

APPOINTED TIME & PURPOSE FOR FASTING MUST BE FOLLOWED (Today, this means fast as led by the Holy Spirit and the word of God)

Esther 9:31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting.
Zechariah 8:19

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘ The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’

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