Fasting according to the Scripture
Let’s begin with a question :
“According to the Spirit of the Scriptures, is fasting really a food deprivation ?”
Generally, this is what we hear about this :
- –Fasting is an effective instrument to beg the Almighty God, in order to obtain His Rescue…
- -Fasting is a momentary food deprivation, and/or drinks, but also tendencies, in order to be committed to prayer and meditation of the word of God. And in this case, to obtain the support of the Lord…
- -During fasting, it is necessary to increase prayer frequency et biblical meditation, in order to constantly dwell in the holy presence of the living God…
- -What reasons lead us to fasting ? Our circumstances, difficulties we are facing, a problem that needs a solution, an unsolved question, a research on a spiritual level, a thirst of our soul,…
- -The time that has been put aside by fasting enables us to be more available for the Lord. This abstinence leads our hearts to research our God..
Now, let’s look at what the Scripture says on this topic :
Here is inserted a passage of the Scripture in Isaiah, chapter 58, which clearly talks about fasting.
So here is the Lord talking to his people through his prophet.
He told him to declare this :
1 Cry aloud (Isaiah), spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
2 (Isaiah) Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
3 (They say) Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?
(Answer from the Lord : )
Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
(The Lord continues to speak : )
6-7 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?
8 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 rereward.
9 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;
– 10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry,
– and satisfy the afflicted soul;
– then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
– 11 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.
– 12 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.
– 13 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, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 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.
59; 1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God,
and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Here is some evidences contained in this text :
For example, consider this, which is pretty surprising for a fasting day :
to deal thy bread to the hungry…
–In this passage, is it about food deprivation, as we would do it for a physical fasting day, or is it about “deal thy bread to the hungry” ?
-In sum, is it here about making our stomach fast, or about making something else fast ?
And another thing which his encased in the biblical text :
-During this day, is it about making this kind of fast for God, or about making this kind of fast for others, such as for example towards “the hungry” ?
-Is the real fast which we are now speaking, about a food depravation, or about making our soul fast from certain bad and selfish tendencies ? And in this case, why would we physically fast ?
Here is, among others, three littles notes encased in the reference text :
Is not this the fast that “I have chosen”? :
The word “this” clearly shows that in the beginning of the chapter, the Lord didn’t find any pleasure in this kind of fast, even if this day contained a “food privation”.
Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness
There was indeed a physical fast, but in some deplorable moral conditions which strongly degrade this day.
is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
Here, are all the things done by men, as bowing down their head or spreading sackcloth and ashes under them, pleasant to the Lord ?
-Was this here, really, what the Lord was waiting for this day ?
-What did He exactly said ?
Who called this a fast, because it is written above : “wilt thou call this a fast” .
Here, it was the man who called this day “a fasting day”; the man who indeed took this “behaviors” for a real fast…thing that the Lord was refuting however.
There was indeed “behaviors”, it is sure.
There was indeed “what is noticeable”, but nor the heart, nor the acts were present in this day dedicated to fasting.
Concerning now the Real fast :
Is not this the fast that “I have chosen”? : (Says the Lord)
1° -to loose the bands of wickedness..
-Is it here about food deprivation ?
2 ° -to undo the heavy burdens..
-Is it here about food deprivation ?
3 ° and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke
-Is it here about food deprivation ?
On the contrary, through this three requests from the Lord, wasn’t it this fast that He desired to see in the midst of his people, and in which He would have find pleasure ?
Fast which would not consist in food deprivation but consisting of “take care of others”.
Here is a passage encased in Zechariah 7
1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;
2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,
3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?
4 Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying,
5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?
6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?
7 Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?
8 And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying,
9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.
Ending notes :
In the Scripture, there is many other places about fasting, such as the famous “fast of the children of the bridechamber” that Jesus quoted in response to those who ask Jesus why his disciples were not fasting, while they were; but in order to not make this too long, we principally hold on to the prophet Isaiah, which explained this very well.
Indeed, we quote this kind of fast to indicate that the real fast, according to the Scripture, isn’t necessarily a physical fast, but quite the contrary !
On the other side, know that nothing written above from us is imposed in any way or to any one.
What we have proposed you is only towards the ones who have been waiting for an other view about fasting, an other view than the one presented to them so far.
etre-en-paix-avec-dieu.com / Be at peace with God