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Fasting in the Old Testament (Part 2)

29 Jun

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Donald Whitney. He said: “Fasting does not ensure the certainty of receiving clear guidance from God. Rightly practiced, however, it does make us more receptive to the One who loves to guide us.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 2 of our series titled “FASTING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT” from Elmer L. Towns in his book “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough”.

Fasting apparently began as a natural expression of grief; however, after time it became customary to reflect or prove one’s grief to others by abstaining from food and/or showing sorrow. David fasted to demonstrate his grief at Abner’s death in 2 Samuel 3:35. Many references in Scripture describe fasting as “afflicting” one’s soul or body according to Isaiah 58:3,5. Fasting came to be practiced as an external means of demonstrating and later encouraging an internal feelng of remorse for sin.

Fasting was a perfectly natural human expression of human grief; therefore, it became a religious custom to placate the anger of God. People began fasting to turn away God’s anger from destroying them. Eventually, fasting became a basis for making one’s petition effective to God. David defended his fasting before the death of his son by Bathsheba, indicating his hope that while the child lived David’s prayer might be answered. When the child died, David promptly ended his fast, denoting that he knew then that neither fasting nor praying could any longer avail.

When God vented His wrath against a nation for its wickedness, fasting became a national mode of seeking divine favor and protection. Therefore, it was only natural that a group of people should associate themselves in confession, fasting, sorrow for sin and intercession to God.

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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

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