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God’s Purpose for Fasting (Part 1)

16 Jun

Welcome to the Special Fasting Edition of the Prayer Motivator Devotional Broadcast #30

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. It is good to be with you today.

We praise the Lord for all of you who fasted for 24 hours on this past Wednesday, June 13, 2012. And we praise the Lord also for those who are currently fasting for 40 days and nights with pastors and Christian leaders across America. Please be reminded as you fast to continue to pray for the following among other things:

1. For God to heal Christian families
2. For God to revive the church
3. For God to heal the nation
4. For 3 million or more people to come to Christ
5. And if the Lord is going to tarry His coming, for God to give us the godly leadership that this nation needs going forward.

Our Scripture reading for today is Isaiah 58:1-14 from the King James Version which reads:

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.

Allow me to share with you some important points regarding this passage from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

This passage shows us that God will put honour upon them. Good works shall be recompensed with a good name; this is included in that light which rises out of obscurity. Though a man’s extraction be mean, his family obscure, and he has no external advantages to gain him honour, yet, if he do good in his place, that will procure him respect and veneration, and his darkness shall by this means become as the noon-day, that is, he shall become very eminent and shine brightly in his generation. See here what is the surest way for a man to make himself illustrious; let him study to do good. He that would be the greatest of all, and best-loved, let him by humility and industry make himself a servant of all. “Thy righteousness shall answer for thee (as Jacob says in Gen. 30:33 ), that is, it shall silence reproaches, nay, it shall bespeak thee more praises than thy humility can be pleased with.’’ He that has given to the poor, his righteousness (that is, the honour of it) endures for ever. They shall always be safe under the divine protection: “Thy righteousness shall go before thee as thy vanguard, to secure thee from enemies that charge thee in the front, and the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward, the gathering host, to bring up those of thee that are weary and are left behind, and to secure thee from the enemies, that, like Amalek, fall upon thy rear.’’

We will continue discussing this passage in our next broadcast.

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Bill Thrasher. He said: “The abstinence is not to be an end in itself but rather for the purpose of being separated to the Lord and to concentrate on godliness. This kind of fasting reduces the influence of our self-will and invites the Holy Spirit to do a more intense work in us.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 1 of a new series titled “GOD’S PURPOSE FOR FASTING” from Elmer L. Towns in his book “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough”.

Isaiah 58:6-8 gives a veritable laundry list of warnings as well as positive results that can occur when we submit ourselves to the discipline of fasting.

It is as important to learn from this passage the kinds of fasts that do not please God as it is to understand those fasts He desires. God’s people in Isaiah’s day had been fasting, but without results. The reason, God says, is that they ignored the way fasting should change their lives, treating it as an empty ritual. Isaiah 58:3-4 states, “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. 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.”

Like so many Christians today, God’s people considered worship to be merely a private, inward act. All the focus on fasting was on the personal dimension. Listen to God’s rebuke of this concept. Isaiah 58:5 states, “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?”

The purpose of all worship, including fasting, is to change the worshiper in ways that have social and interpersonal impact. We worship not just to gratify ourselves, but also to become empowered to change the world! God goes on to specify the kind of fast He chooses. Isaiah 58:6-8 reads, “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? 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? 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.”

We must not interpret the earlier verses in this passage as a call to a “social gospel” in the sense that would deny the importance of personal, heartfelt worship. God was not asking His people to stop fasting so they might instead bring in the Kingdom through social change. Far from it—He wanted the people to continue fasting, but to expand fasting through their actions into their everyday lives. Through the prophet Joel, God called His people in Joel 2:12 to, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting.” We may assume that Isaiah is communicating God’s desire that fasting be continued, and that its effects be evidenced beyond the mere private and personal.

Now, let’s take this moment to break up the fallow ground in our lives. Hosea 10:12 states, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

The great evangelist Charles G. Finney preached a message titled “Breaking Up the Fallow Ground – An Outline for Repentance”. In this sermon, he listed 27 sins that we as Christians should confess and repent of. We have gone through each of those sins in the previous broadcasts and so today, we are going to confess our sins individually. Whatever sin you have in your life and temptation that you are struggling with, talk to God about it. Allow Him to cleanse you from the inside out and fill You with His Holy Spirit so that you can be the strong, faithful Christian that He wants you to be.

Let’s go to the Lord in prayer right now and confess our sins before God.

GENERAL PRAYER

Dear friend, if you are listening to this broadcast and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever. Amen.

Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! We’re here to help you, feel free to contact us at GospelLightSociety.com

Until next time, continue to fast and pray. God Bless You!

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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

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