Isaiah 58:6-14 KJV
“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? 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? 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 rearward. 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; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy darkness be as the noonday; 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. 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. 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, honorable; and shalt hour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; 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.”
Food. Here in the deep South food is priority number one. The first thing we discuss when planning ANY event is the food!! Here in the South it shows that we like our grub. We are ranked as the most obese states in the nation. Not exactly what we need to lay a claim to fame, gluttony. Southern churches do NOT put emphasis on fasting. They put emphasis on “covered dishes” and “dinner on the grounds.” The most important topic of discussion on the way to church on Sunday is where are we going to eat after church? So, why am I going to dig into the Word of God just before Thanksgiving on fasting? Because a phrase in this scripture jumped up and grabbed me by my stubborn, stiff, double chin neck and choked the breath out of me! Why did it grab me? Because I have a prayer that has NOT been answered and I have been searching for the reason. I like the apostles have been asking, “Why could not we cast him out?” (Matthew 17:19) and Jesus answered “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21)
Do you have a prayer that has not been answered and you have bloody knees from praying long, hard, with tears, pleading, begging, and promising God all kinds of things you know you will not/cannot do, if He will just do what you are asking? Yea, me too!
So of course, as a last resort, I went to the WORD OF GOD to see if I could find what I needed to do different. I know, the light bulb cannot come on unless you turn on the switch.
Fasting has a purpose! It is multi-faceted. It is positive. So let’s take and hang on every word of these verses. The verses prior to these tell the prophet what the fast was not intended to do. But the generous serving of Scripture we are going to eat today is prime rib. It is the fast the LORD Himself has chosen.
Why on earth do I need to fast at all? The LORD God Almighty tells us:
- To break the chains of wickedness
- To undo heavy burdens
- To let the oppressed go free
- To break every yoke
- To share our food with the hungry (we aren’t eating it and it is not to go to waste)
- To bring in the poor to our homes (we save money to help the less fortunate)
- To make us aware of needs of others (clothing, shelter, job, etc)
IF we fast from food and use the time to pray and the resources it saves THEN we will gain
- Answers to our prayers
- Glory of God!!!!
But keep reading, keep hanging on these meaty morsels.
IF we encourage others to stop finger pointing, gossiping, marginalization of others, blame, and condemnation THEN we will be feeding the souls of those in pain (the afflicted soul) AND the LORD will guide us, build up our “wasted places” AND HE will call us by the same names that Jesus is known by: Repairer and Restorer (Redeemer).
Then the Father adds one more IF/THEN statement: He says, IF you keep the Sabbath (one day a week to worship) THEN He will raise us up and make our lives peaceful because our prayers will have been answered.)
Do you have someone in your life you have prayed over, for, and attempted to cast out their demons to no avail. Can I humbly suggest that we follow the instructions of Jesus to His apostles and do it God’s way: prayer + fasting.
No, fasting is not easy. If it was easy there would be no obesity. It would require no discipline.
When you decide to do it God’s way, expect results. Watch for the hand of God to move. Ask for wisdom in your situation. Use the WORD OF GOD as a sword to slay the demon, to hack through the shackles that have your loved one or you bound in fear, anxiety, depression, illness, or sin. Pray in the name of Jesus who has authority over all the evil forces of this world. He alone has the keys to the prison of oppression, sin, and death.
Lest you think I am an expert on this subject, I AM NOT! I am a willing learner. I am determined to hang on until I see my prayers answered for myself, my family, my friends, my country, and my church. It is time to say enough to the enemy and do battle the way Jesus told us too. It CLEARLY states if we fast in the correct spirit then we can call on the LORD and He WILL answer! I need this. Others need me to do this. Others are depending on us to stand in the gap for them so they can be healed, delivered, redeemed, restored, repaired, and experience the glory of God for themselves.
So, here is the challenge: (self-preaching here) give up one meal this Thanksgiving week, share with another, open your home, and extend the love of God to a hurting and hungry world. The whole idea of fasting for me has been about giving up but now I see it is about reaching out. I think we just mined a diamond of great worth and beauty.
https://youtu.be/-pD2zIuiC2g Tasha Cobb Break Every Chain
This song makes me want to SHOUT!
Treading with hands held high,