Jesus said His people will fast regularly
to humble themselves and seek God’s will and direction.
We can learn valuable lessons from
studying fasts in the Bible that God answered quickly.
♥ When asking isn’t working, the power of asking in humility with fasting (Judg. 20:18-28)
During civil war between Benjamin and the other tribes of Israel, Israel asked God which of them should go up first to battle Benjamin. The Lord said “Judah” and Israel lost 22,000 men. You’d think they should have asked whether they should go up! Next Israel asked if they should again draw near to battle Benjamin. The Lord said “Go up against him” and they suffered another 18,000 loss!
Finally Israel came to the house of God and wept and fasted. Phinehas this time very humbly asked if they should go battle Benjamin—or should they cease. They wouldn’t be able to take much more massacre from the left-handed slingers! And the Lord said “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”
Lesson: We must not presume and expect God to rubber-stamp what we have already decided is the solution. We must humble ourselves to seek God’s will.
♥ When you just don’t know what to do (2 Chron. 20:1-30)
When Judah was invaded by a great multitude, Jehoshaphat jumped in the right direction—he feared! So he “set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”
First Judah’s king reminded God who He is and what He promised. God hadn’t forgotten. We forget! The United States was settled by primarily the tribe of Manassah which means “forgetful.” Today we have forgotten God and have been speedily kicking Him out of public life.
“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do.”
Lesson: Jehoshaphat really knew what to do: “but our eyes are upon You.” The battle was God’s—not theirs! They didn’t need to fight in this battle! When God said to “position yourselves,” they knew that the best position is on your knees fasting! That’s the way to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Yes, maybe a figurative anatomical challenge, but stand on your knees!
But Judah also did their part in addition to fasting. Showing 20:20 vision, they rose early and went out as God commanded.
They sent their Levitical choir out ahead of the army. And something that really should encourage any choir, it was when they began to sing and praise that the Lord set ambushes and defeated the invaders.
How reminiscent of the dedication of Solomon’s temple. The moment the glory of the Lord filled the temple wasn’t during Solomon’s speech but when “the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord” (2 Chron. 5:13-14). A choir would hope to achieve such unity on the first note!
Obviously God would enjoy you including singing and praising in your fast—even if neighbors might not agree!
♥ The church in Antioch sent off Saul and Barnabus after fasting and prayer (Acts 13:3)
Lesson: Fasting is vital at key junctures in doing the Work of God and taking the gospel of the Kingdom into all the world (Matt. 24:14). Individually we should fast about how we can best serve the Work of God.
These are some of the inspiring examples in the Bible about fasts that God responded to quickly. He knows how hard it is to go without food and drink. “He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him” (Heb. 6:10 New Living Translation). Why fast? To get
Our eyes on God
“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isa. 58:9).