The Power of the Fast

Tonight at sundown we begin a 21 day fast.  The kind of fast that God will bless is found in Isaiah 58.   God has this embarrassing conversation with Israel.  They are fasting outwardly but inwardly their heart was not in it.   So He reads their mail.   These four things he says will not work when you fast.  1.  The way you treat people at work and oppress the labor force ( even at home with spouse and children),  2.  The way we stir the pot with drama.  Always upset or frustrated about someone or something,  3. The anger and bitterness in us to the place we use our fist like the wicked, ie. destructive behavior, and 4.  Wickedness in civil arena and wickedness even against our enemies.  

God wants to deal with the heart issues during the Fast.  Thus He goes on to say that if we will humble ourselves by feeding the poor, offering shelter to the homeless, and clothing the naked during our fasting…another words, not just focus on self, then God promises to, 1.  Light will break forth in the morning,  2.  Divine healing will spring up speedily, 3. His righteousness (favor) will go before you, 4. The glory of the Lord shall be your rereward, and 5.  God will answer you when you call and break the yoke upon you.

The Hebrew mindset of fasting is found in this story told in 4 BC,  In Genesis Rabbah XXXIII:3 a story is told about the Jewish people fasting during a severe drought:

4In the days of R. Tanhuma [fourth century], Israel had need of a fast [for the severe drought] so they went to him and requested: “Master, proclaim a fast.” He proclaimed a fast, for one day, then a second day, and then a third, yet no rain fell Thereupon he ascended [the pulpit] and preached to them, saying: “My sons! Be filled with compassion for each other, and then the Holy One, blessed be He, will be filled with compassion for you.” Now while they were distributing relief to the poor they saw a man give money to his divorced wife … He summoned them and asked him, “Why did you give money to your divorced wife?” “I saw her in great distress,” replied he, “and was filled with compassion for her.” … Immediately the rain descended and the world enjoyed relief.

I came across an illustration by Bible Teacher, Beth Moore on youtube that illustrates the mindset of the fast that releases God’s power in our lives.  May I suggest you go to this youtube video to watch and learn.  Shabbat Shalom!

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