Fasting is something that was done in both the OT and NT by the people of God. Here is an excerpt about fasting in the OT from the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible:
“In the OT the fast was regarded as an act of self-renunciation designed to mollify God’s wrath and move him to act in gracious disposition. In times of emergency, the people fasted to persuade God to spare them from impending calamity (Jgs 20:26;1 Sm 7:6;1 Kgs 21:9; 2 Chr 20:3; Jer 36:6,9). Individuals fasted in the hope that God would liberate them from trouble (2 Sm 12:16–20; 1 Kgs 21:27; Pss 35:13; 69:10). Fasting was regarded as concomitant to prayer to assure that God would answer the prayers (Ezr8:21;Neh 1:4;Jer14:12). Throughout the OT, fasting is associated with a mournful attitude of importuning God to aid the supplicant. ”
Take some time this week and Go through some of these verses above and see what the OT has to say about fasting.
In the OT like the NT, fasting was sometimes abused. Instead of it being something that they did in submission to God, it became a way for the people to promote self and draw attention in a public way. We need to make sure that when we fast we are doing it for the right reasons.
During this week when you fast and pray with us be challanged by these verses in Isaiah (58:1-10) that talk about true and false fasting:1 “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. 4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? 6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
May we worship him through everything we do this week. To Him be the glory!!!