Fasting

When and why should we fast? What changes when we fast? How are fasting and prayer related? Biblically fasting represents true sorrow for sin. Without that it is not a fast. Fasting is affliction of the soul in true repentance

Overview

Matt 6:16-18

  • Objectives
  • Bible Passages
  • Reasons for Fasting
  • Ritual Fasting
  • Righteous Fasting
  • Result of Fasting
  • Recap
  • Discussion

OBJECTIVES

To understand:

  • And acquire the right motives for fasting
  • The benefits and impact of fasting
  • The biblical perspective on fasting
  • Other equivalents of fasting

Ritual Fasting

Isaiah 58:3,4;‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

    Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,

    and oppress all your workers.

4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

Cross references: Matt 6:16; Jer 14:11-12

What is Fasting

Self denial (usually food). Humbling, and smiting of the soul to mourn for sin of self, others and the nation.

Fasting is always associated with prayer and right living.

A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. [1]

Reasons for Fasting

  • rotection from evil: on the Lord’s mission (Ezra 8:21), of the Lord’s people (Esther 4:16)
  • elease from demons, bondage: Mark 9:29, Isaiah 61:1
  • fflict Soul: 1 Kings 21:27-29; 1 Samuel 7:6; Joel 2:12-15; Daniel 9:3
  • ield to God’s will: Is 58:5,6; Matt 26:39
  • mpower God’s leaders: Acts13:3,14:23
  • epentance: Daniel 9:5, Nehemiah 9:1-3
  • alvation: 2 Samuel 12:16, Jonah 3:5-9, Luke 2:37

Ritual Fasting

Isaiah 58:3,4;‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

    Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,

    and oppress all your workers.

4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

Cross references: Matt 6:16; Jer 14:11-12

Righteous Fasting

Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:

    to loose the bonds of wickedness,

    to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

    and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

    and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58:7

Result of ritual Fasting

Jer 14:11 The Lord said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”

Result of Righteous Fasting

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,

    and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you;

    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you take away the yoke from your midst,

    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

Isaiah 58:8,9

Result of Righteous Fasting

10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry

    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

then shall your light rise in the darkness

    and your gloom be as the noonday.

11 And the Lord will guide you continually

    and satisfy your desire in scorched places

    and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

    like a spring of water,

    whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:10-11

Recap

Protection from evil: (Ezra 8:21), (Esther 4:16)

Release from bondage: Mark 9:29, Isaiah 61:1

Afflict soul: 1 Kings 21:27-29; 1 Samuel 7:6; Joel 2:12-15;

Yield to God’s will: Is 58:5,6; Matt 26:39

Empower God’s leaders: Acts13:3,14:23

Repentance: Daniel 9:3-5, Nehemiah 9:1-3

Salvation: 2 Samuel 12:16, Jonah 3:5-9, Luke 2:37

Discussion

1.Why does Jesus tell the disciples not to fast in his presence (Luke 5:33)?

2.Compare Isaiah 58:7 with Matt 25:35-40. Who should the feeding, covering, clothing be directed at? (v 40)

3.How does the above compare with Christ’s ministry in Isaiah 61:1 and impact our calling as His disciples?

4.How does this contradict proponents of social gospel who use this passage to elicit funds for the poor?

5.What promises, encouragement and reward can we draw from fasting?(Matt 6:18; Isaiah 58:1-11)

References

1.Matthew Henry Commentary

2.Elliot’s Commentary for English Readers

Related Posts

True Righteousness

How can we discern between true and fake righteousness? In ourselves and others? What motivates fake righteousness? True Righteousness? How can we examine our hearts before God to be righteous in God’s sight? Matt 6:1-4 Objectives Position Intention Renumeration False...

Successful Prayers

How can our prayers be simple, successful and effective? How to pray? When do prayers not reach God? How can we listen to God and make prayer a two-way process? What were the pointers Jesus gives to be effective in prayer?Passages: Matt 6:5-15, Mark 11:25 Luke 5:16,...

Fasting

When and why should we fast? What changes when we fast? How are fasting and prayer related? Biblically fasting represents true sorrow for sin. Without that it is not a fast. Fasting is affliction of the soul in true repentance Matt 6:16-18 Objectives Bible Passages...

Permanent Wealth

Compare and contrast Kingdom wealth with earthly wealth. How do perspectives change our choices and guide our path? How do we get an enlightened perspective? How do we strike the right balance between wealth in this world and the next?Matt 6:19-24; Luke 12:33-34,...

Averting Anxiety

Why do we worry? What are matters we worry about? How do we overcome anxiety? What are positive worries we can have? How can we switch from negative to positive anxieties? What assurances does Jesus give when we are anxious?Matt 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-32 Introduction...