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God’s Purpose for Fasting (Part 3)

18 Jun

Welcome to the Special Fasting Edition of the Prayer Motivator Devotional Broadcast #32

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 have fasted with us on previous Wednesdays and those who are currently fasting for 40 days and nights with pastors and Christian leaders across America. Please be reminded of the upcoming fast on this Wednesday, June 20, 2012. 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:

God will be always nigh unto them, to hear their prayers. As, on the one hand, he that shuts his ears to the cry of the poor shall himself cry and God will not hear him; so, on the other hand, he that is liberal to the poor, his prayers shall come up with his alms for a memorial before God, as Cornelius’s did: “Then shalt thou call, on thy fast-days, which ought to be days of prayer, and the Lord shall answer, shall give thee the things thou callest to him for; thou shalt cry when thou art in any distress or sudden fright, and he shall say, Here I am.’’ This is a very condescending expression of God’s readiness to hear prayer. When God calls to us by his word it becomes us to say, Here we are; what saith our Lord unto his servants? But that God should say to us, Behold me, here I am, is strange. When we cry to him, as if he were at a distance, he will let us know that he is near, even at our right hand, nearer than we thought he was. It is I, be not afraid. When danger is near our protector is nearer, a very present help. “Here I am, ready to give you what you want, and do for you what you desire; what have you to say to me?’’

We will continue discussing this passage in our next broadcast.

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from an Andrew Murray. He said: “Fasting helps express, deepens, confirms the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 3 of our series titled “GOD’S PURPOSE FOR FASTING” from Elmer L. Towns in his book “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough”.

There are indications that Israelites pressed fellow Jews into slavery, perhaps in response to their failure to pay debts. Even though debt-servitude was allowed in some cases, those pressed into this kind of service were not to be treated as mere slaves. This law was apparently being widely violated in Isaiah’s day.

We must admit that we will not find all of these social conditions present in our own situations. But if we read the passage with biblical imaginations, we can see a modern and often personal application of each aspect of the kind of fast that pleases God.

For example, even if literal slavery is not a widespread problem in our society, what of the servitude of the soul? Just as an Israelite might fast in protest of the literal enslavement of others, so we might fast in resistance against selling ourselves to Satan. In each of these social sins a personal parallel can be seen. So in the description of the nine fasts that we will discuss, I invite you as a serious disciple of Christ to find a contemporary application of the original intention of this great passage in Isaiah on fasting.

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 – It Is Time to Seek the Lord”. 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 (plus we added the 28th sins of lust, perversion, and pornography and a 29th sins of fornication and adultery) and so today, we are going to deal with the sin of: Gluttony.

The Unger’s Bible Dictionary defines gluttony in the Hebrew word from zalal, “to shake,” hence to “be loose” morally. A debauchee; “gluttonous”, meaning a free liver, one who is unrestrained. Another definition for “glutton” comes from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which says, in part, “zalel, “to be lavish; … To shake or pour out, … to be lavish, a squanderer.” In Greek, the term is “phagos”, meaning an eater, a glutton. This was a term applied to Christ in His freedom from asceticism.

The Holman Bible Dictionary defines gluttony as “One habitually given to greedy and voracious eating. Gluttony was associated with stubbornness, rebellion, disobedience, drunkenness, and wastefulness in Deuteronomy. A more general meaning for the Hebrew term as a “good-for-nothing” is reflected in some translations: wastrel, profligate, and riotous. When Jesus was accused of being a “glutton and wine-drinker”, it was in this expanded sense of being one given to loose and excessive living. The Bible knows gluttony makes one sleepy and leads to not working and poverty.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, gluttony is defined as “excess in eating or drinking; greedy or excessive indulgence.”

The sin of gluttony is an often overlooked sin in the church, but it is a sin that many Christians commit every day. Some Christians would not think twice about abstaining from smoking or drinking a glass of wine, but they have no limits on how much they eat. Proverbs 23:20-21 tells us, “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” Have you committed the sin of gluttony? Do you remember eating too much fried chicken, collard greens, and cornbread, with red velvet cake and vanilla ice cream to top it off, at the last fellowship dinner? How many double cheeseburgers do you consider indulging in at the McDonalds drive-through? God does not want us to let anything control us, including food and drink.
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 18, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

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