1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
5 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?
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.
9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:
11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Yesterday, I started my very first fast. God has been speaking to me about fasting for a long time, however, my flesh has been like, “Naaaah, not now.”
I love to eat…so the idea of going more than four to five hours without feeding my belly just doesn’t garner the emotion of excitement in me.
However, this year I embarked on a health and fitness journey that requires I eliminate certain foods and activities, putting clean eating and the preservation of my temple through abstinence and moderation in its place.
This past week, though…I have not remained true to the objective of my mission…click here to read more on that.
So I chose to embark on this fast…not only to cleanse my body from the poison I fed it but also to prepare my spirit for the challenges it will face this year.
The last time I ate was at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday night…it is now 5:30 Sunday evening.
I am so proud of myself.
While at work yesterday, it was easy to resist the urge to eat because there was nothing there to tempt me. Well, actually, a co-worker of mine brought me in a container of breakfast gumbo that I had to turn down…how did I know my first temptation would happen first thing in the morning?
I resisted, however, and made it through the rest of the work day on a meal plan of bottled water. It was easy enough.
The challenge came when I got home and remembered the leftover pizza in the refrigerator. Oh, I tried to make up all kinds of excuses, asking the Lord if I could take a 12 hour fast instead.
He was all, “Nope.”
So I remained obedient. I got on my knees and prayed. Grabbed my Strong’s Concordance and began to look for scriptures containing the word “fast”.
This is how I came up the passage in Isaiah 58 listed above. It truly ministered to me last night, as it put the deeper, more spiritual reasons for my fast into perspective.
I came across this typography image just now that offered a bit more confirmation for me:
I wanted this fast to work as a cleansing, so to speak…the flush out the bad to usher in the good…to prepare my bottle for the new wine, if you will.
But it’s deeper than that. It is about refocusing my attention to the things that are most important…to the ONE who IS most important.
So often when we think of temptation, we think of sexual temptation. When we think of idolatry, we think of entertainment figures who are seen as idols in the face of the masses.
When we think of food, we think of a basic need. We don’t always equate the words temptation and idolatry with the idea of eating.
Well, at least I never did.
But again, I set off on a health and fitness journey this year and I have been too easily tempted to eat the foods and engage in the very activities I said I wanted to be done with in 2015.
Food can become an idol…this was evident in the way I worshipped that cheesecake I ate on Wednesday…and the way I was more focused on the chicken wings I wanted to order than the message being brought forth in church Friday night.
So I needed to fast. I needed to get my flesh back on track. I need it to be an able partner to my willing spirit.
I praise God for the Bible verse above. I am at my mother’s house right now and she is roasting a prime rib as we speak. It smells delicious.
But I am going to go the entire 48 hours. I am going to commit to these two days as I believe in the promises God laid out in verses 8-14. Our God is a faithful God and is deserving of our faithfulness.
Plus, this whole fasting thing isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. There have been times where I have acted in disobedience and ended up wondering how things would have been different if I’d just obeyed.
I won’t have to wonder this time! :)