Fasting to Feast Scriptures! October 27, 2013
Here is why I don’t notice your fasting … “The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is … profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast … but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast … but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?”
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed … cancel debts. This is what I’m interested in seeing you do: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Isaiah 58 (MSG)
When you held days of fasting all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly! You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people. I want you to: ‘Treat one another justly… Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows… orphans… newcomers… and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’ Zech. 5b-10 (MSG)
When you practice fasting or some appetite-denying discipline …to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. Act and dress normally… God doesn’t require attention-getting devices… He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.
Matthew 6:16-18 (MSG))
“Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed … and prayed like this: Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people —robbers … crooks … adulterers … or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’
13 “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God… give mercy…. Forgive me… a sinner.’”
“This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” (Luke 18: 9-14 (MSG)
Reflection: “Fasting to Feast”
Linda Worth looked at fasting in scripture, both old and new Testaments as well as in more recent times, including her own experience this past week of practicing what she was going to preach.
Spiritual Practice Suggestion
The Spiritual Practice of Fasting – Options to Consider
Fasting is really learning to feast on God. Fasting isn’t just about giving up something. Fasting is making time in our lives to feast on God’s love, God’s compassion, God’s forgiveness and God’s healing mercy. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
Guidelines for Fasting from Food
- Don’t fast when you are sick, traveling, pregnant, nursing, a young child or have a medical condition e.g. diabetes, gout, liver disease, kidney disease, ulcers, hypoglycemia, cancer or other blood diseases.
- Don’t fast if you are in a hurry and are fasting for immediate results regarding some decision.
- Listen for a nudging from God to fast.
- Stay hydrated. Always drink plenty of water and fluids.
- Begin by fasting for one meal or begin a fast after supper. Fast until supper the next day. This way you miss two, rather than three meals.
- Consider working up to longer fasts. Don’t attempt prolonged fasts without guidance. Check with your doctor before attempting long periods of fasting.
- Don’t break your fast with a huge meal. Eat small portions of food.
Guidelines for Feasting on God
- Spend the time with God that you would normally be eating.
- Bring your Bible and hymnal and a glass of water to your fast
- Relax and breathe deeply. Place yourself in the presence of God.
- Offer yourself and your time to God. Say Samuel’s words “Speak, lord, your servant is listening.”
- Spend time reading and worshipping God.
- Bring your thanksgivings to God.
- Bring your desires to God. Ask God if this desire is in line with God’s will and God’s word for you and the church. Be still and listen.