Is it Time for You to Fast?
What are the situations that compel people to fast? At various times through the Bible we observe that diverse persons fasted at different junctures in their lives.
The inevitable occurrence of death prompted many people to fast. The nation of Israel was moved to fast when their king, and his son were killed in battle on the same day.
“And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword,” (2 Samuel 1:12).
Similarly, Job was stirred to fast for seven days and seven nights when all his children were killed in a freak-storm.
“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great,” (Job 2:13).
King David in an attempt, doomed to fail before it began, to save his son’s life decided to fast. The child was conceived in sin and disobedience, murder and adultery.
“Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread,” (2 Samuel 12:21).
In another incident, the imminence of death also propelled a king to fast overnight. His fasting was his spiritual efforts to save Daniel’s life.
“Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of [music] brought before him: and his sleep went from him,” (Daniel 6:18).
Time to Fast and to Receive?
In order to receive from the Lord God, we must fast. There is no way around fasting. Twice, Moses had to fast for forty days and forty nights to receive the Ten Commandments from God.
“And he [Moses] was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments”, (Exodus 34:28 & Deuteronomy 10:10).
Daniel had to fast to receive “skill and understanding” from God concerning Jeremiah’s seventy years of desolation of Jerusalem, (Daniel 9:2, 22).
Queen Esther fast to prevent the imminent genocide of all Jews. She was motivated to fast to receive favour from God, through the king, her husband, for herself and her nation. She fast to preserve a people. Her people! (Esther 4:16).
Jesus Christ fasted before his first sermon, and his first temptation. He fast to accept his call to the ministry and to signify the end of John the Baptist’s. Therefore, “from that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, (Matthew 4:17).
Time to Fast – Time to Influence
When Hannah and Elizabeth needed a child, they fasted and prayed respectively. (1 Samuel 1:7, 18 & Luke 1:13).
Saul of Tarsus fast to begin his new ministry. After his conversion he fasted for three days, then his new ministry of the name of Jesus Christ began, (Acts 9:9).
Later, the Apostles of Jesus, pray and fast to obtain the will of God for Saul of Tarsus (now Paul), and Barnabas, then dispatch them to do missionary work.
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away”, (Acts 13:2-3).
From Moses to the Church of Jesus Christ people are encouraged to fast. Irrespective of their diverse needs: one thing was common, while they were fasting God responded. They fast to God before making decisions and they fast to move His hands to influence the outcome of their situations in their favour.
What circumstances could constrain you to fast? Are they any situations that would motivate you to fast for any duration of time? Respond in a comment below.