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Understanding the Key Words Which Scripture Associates With Fasting
by Craig Wm. Peters
This study proclaims the good news of the Kingdom: hwhy reigns! Psalm 97:1, Isaiah 52:7, Acts 10:36 He is the Sovereign King over all things and His counsel, plans, and purposes will stand forever. Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 46:10 No one can turn back His stretched out hand; He sits as King forever although we do not presently see all things in subjection under His feet. That which He has determined will come to pass with or without us, and so it behooves us to humble ourselves before Him through fasting and prayer, 2Chronicles 34:27, 1Peter 5:6. This study will present many of the key words which are spiritually and physically related to what may be one of the most momentous and powerful acts of True Worship: fasting and prayer. There are many beneficial, books on the topic of fasting and each one brings forth various aspects of the discipline; a number of those works provide both practical and spiritual advice. We are certainly wise to acquire as much understanding of the subject as possible, so we encourage each person to seek the leading of the Spirit in this matter. This present study offers readers spiritual view of fasting from the standpoint of Scripture. A few physical concerns related to fasting are addressed in our study, but that is not the ultimate intent of this present work. By learning the many key words which hwhy Himself associates with fasting, we find new vistas are opened to us in the reading and study of Scripture; as a result we shall be better equipped to serve our Creator and Redeemer; and we will be more enabled to serve our fellow man as well. It is just as James wrote: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” … James 5:16 Hence, if our fasting is effectual, our fervent prayers may well change the course of history. This study is offered to assist each believer in coming to the fullest possible understanding of the numerous issues which surround the act of fasting. The world around us is crumbling: morals decline daily on a worldwide basis. Even nations which began as peoples seeking the Most High Creator are now turning their backs on Him altogether. Lawlessness is increasing within many Christian circles and some sectors have already become totally apostate; for instance, homosexuality has now become “acceptable” and many denominations are even “ordaining” sexual reprobates. In the face of these and many other rebellious abominations, the wrath of hwhy will soon be kindled. Psalm 2:11-12, 119:126, Isaiah 24:5,6 As this ages rushes to a close, our greatest need is to be delivered from highmindedness and to seek the Almighty through fasting and prayer (Daniel 9:3, Zephaniah 2:3, Matthew 9:15, 2Corinthians 6:5, 11:27) – that we might be accounted worthy to number among those described by the word of hwhy through the prophet Isaiah: For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose Name is qadosh: I dwell in the high and set apart place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones … For all those has My hand made, and all those things have been, says hwhy: but to this one will I look: to one that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 57:15, 66:2 The study which follows, then, should be approached in such a manner as the Word of hwhy provides much for us to glean regarding this momentous subject. Nothing will do more to induce a contrite, broken heart than a life given to fasting and prayer. For it is through fasting and prayer that the reality of our Creator’s great love shall (as it well should) so powerfully overwhelm us, 2Corinthians 5:14,15; and it is through fasting and prayer that His light-filled Presence will greatly increase in and around our lives, Psalm 34:18, James 4:8. Each person owes a great duty to the One in whose hand are held our life-breath and all our ways, Daniel 5:23, 1Samuel 12:24. Consequently, our study will show fasting is truly the altar upon which we may offer to hwhy the ultimate, personal sacrifice. Psalm 51:17, Romans 12:1 Craig Peters 3/12/2004 Northridge, CA
HUMBLE YOURSELVES IN THE SIGHT OF hwhy
Understanding the Key Words Which Scripture Associates With Fasting The fear of hwhy is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.
There is much to be gleaned from the Word of hwhy as we study the instructive principles revealed by the numerous key words associated with fasting throughout the Scriptures. As we consider the many key words so permanently linked with fasting, we can draw much instruction and many helpful conclusions from the written Word. And we will discover these connecting words are all related in some way as they reveal the various aspects of the fast as well as the results in and around the life of one who is engaged in this most powerful work of righteousness. We will see fasting and prayer are the hallmarks of those who seek hwhy “with the whole heart.” Psalm 119:2 Absolutely no amount of Scripture study can lead to a true, full, and life-changing understanding of the Word of hwhy. Armchair theologians can neither grasp nor elucidate the greatest truths of the Most High for His spiritual principles are set in place so that only doers of the word can be blessed to see and to mine the great riches of eternal wisdom hidden in His perfect Law.1 Fasting-derived humility and heartfelt prayer from those who hunger and thirst for His Presence, are the indispensable keys to becoming true doers of the word. Let us better learn to exalt the One who dwells in the “high and qodesh place” by humbling ourselves with fasting and prayer, and He will then give His Spirit to dwell with us mightily and to greatly illumine our way with the light of His shekinah splendor. Isaiah 57:15, 58:8, 60:13, Ephesians 5:14 Numerous Scriptures will be seen in a new light providing many untold, unforeseen blessings to our families and brethren as we, through fasting and prayer, grow in the amount of favor we can obtain before His throne, Hebrews 4:16, 2Peter 3:18. Faith and obedience
– which are best fueled by fasting and prayer – will cause us to be “filled with the Spirit,”2 while fasting with prayer in a state of sanctification is that great weapon through which we are clothed by and move in “the power of the Spirit.” Luke 4:13,14, 5:16,17 Fasting and prayer are the means by which hwhy intends His people to go “from strength to strength,” “from faith to faith,” from initial trust to a full, complete, and allencompassing trust, Psalm 84:7, Romans 1:17, Jeremiah 17:7. The spiritual strength, humility, and power of the Spirit3 obtained during a fast are carried with us as we partake of food once more and regain physical strength. Fasting is a vital part of the pilgrim’s earthly sojourn to the Kingdom which no one will want to miss. Since the texts which incorporate these “key words” are far too numerous to include in our article, readers are requested to look up each Scripture reference and to discover for themselves these life-renovating truths; in many cases, one will note numerous, fasting-related words and phenomena are seen together in a single, contextual “lump.” For instance, many fasting-related words are seen throughout the book of Job … in Psalm 51 … in Psalm 69 … in Psalm 102 … in 2Corinthians 7 … and in James 4; and, it is believed, many of those who are joining our study will be pleasantly surprised to see numerous fasting-related terms (and results) in a rather surprising locale. Pay attention and see if the surprise is revealed before we write of it in our summary statements. While these principles are clearly seen in the word of hwhy, it is still required that one becomes a doer of the word to understand them the most fully.4 Merely reading about fasting is entirely different than actually seeking hwhy with fasting and prayer. As one seeks hwhy with fasting and prayer, the truth of our manuscript will become increasingly
Psalm 111:10, 119:98-100, Hosea 14:9, James 1:22-25
Luke 4:1 2Corinthians 12:9,10, James 4:10 Psalm 111:10, 119:98-100, James 1:22-25
apparent. However, this process may take a considerable amount of time: only by being “doers of the word” in relation to fasting can we truly understand fasting! Some things in Scripture are not easily or immediately understood until the Spirit of hwhy can work certain principles into our lives and hearts! We must bind the word upon our hands by becoming “doers of the word.”5 As we become doers of His will – that is to say, His Torah6 – greater understanding is given to our minds by the Spirit.7 Studying Scripture is only the start of this great saga, but it is a necessary and, oftentimes, joyous one! The Scripture citations which appear within a given, word category are not numbered, but they are typically listed in what we shall call “scriptural order.”8 This format will make our study your study! It will require each person to read and to study the texts to which we have only provided a reference. Please read and study this article the first time in its given order without looking ahead. THE KEY WORDS WHICH SCRIPTURE ASSOCIATES WITH FASTING9 Afflict, Afflicted, Affliction Leviticus 23:27,32, 2Chronicles 20:3,9, Ezra 8:21, Psalm 35:13, Psalm 102 (title)10, Psalm 102:1-4, Isaiah 58:5, Jonah 1:17-2:2, James 4:9
Singing and affliction are generally set forth in Scripture as incongruous, if not total opposites. Psalm 30:11, Proverbs 25:20, James 5:13 There are times, however, when the one fasting and afflicted should even sing. Matthew 5:11,12, Acts 16:19-25 Even when sorrowful in fasting, we should always rejoice in hwhy. 2Corinthians 6:10 (cf. Matthew 6:16,17), Philippians 4:4, 1Thessalonians 5:16 Ashes Genesis 18:27, Esther 4:1,3, Job 42:6, Psalm 102:9, Isaiah 58:5, 61:3, Daniel 9:3, Jonah 3:6, Matthew 11:21 Bear the Yoke In the context of fasting, the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “It is good for a man that he bears the yoke in his youth.” Lamentations 3:27 We assert his reference to bearing the yoke was a reference to fasting. Many other words which relate to fasting are seen around this phrase: … seeks (25) … dust (29) … reproach (30) … It is truly good for a man to bear the yoke of fasting-derived humility in his youth; and the sooner the better, 2Timothy 2:22. It has been a great joy to see even a few young believers who are still in high school take up regular, one-day fasts; it is clear to see the power of the Spirit is increasingly with them. eswhy also spoke of bearing the yoke of fasting-derived humility: Come to Me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 Both the prophet Jeremiah and the apostle Shaul (cf. Acts 20:19,31, 2Corinthians 6:5, 11:17, Philippians 3:10) bore this yoke and cultivated a meek and lowly heart (Philippians 2:3-5). And all those who undertake to bear this yoke with eswhy will walk a lowly path: they will suffer reproach and they may well give their cheeks those who smite – striking either with physical or verbal abuse (and perhaps both, Lamentations 3:30, Matthew 5:39); but compared to the heavy labor of bondage to sin and iniquity-induced weariness, the yoke of eswhy is easy and His burden is light (2Corinthians 4:17); so while righteous desire stirs up adversaries on every side (2Timothy 3:12), walking with eswhy in the
Deuteronomy 6:6-8, 11:18, Isaiah 56:2, Matthew 7:24, Romans 2:13, James 1:22-25, 4:11 6 Psalm 37:31, 40:8, Isaiah 51:7, Jeremiah 31:31-33, Ezekiel 26:36,37 < > 2Corinthians 3:2,3, Romans 2:18, Hebrews 8:8-10, 1John 5:2,3 7 Psalm 111:10, 119:99,100, James 1:25 8 i.e., from Genesis to Revelation. 9 An important note: the key words we discuss are clearly connected to fasting in many places throughout the Scriptures. However, we are not claiming theses words are used exclusively to refer to fasting. Each situation must be looked at in context. For instance, we read the Egyptians afflicted the children of Yisrael, Exodus 1:11, 3:7,9. In this context, we are certainly not to infer the Egyptians made the Yisraelites fast. The tribes of Ya’acob/Jacob were obviously afflicted by a life of bondage and hard labor. However, the texts we cite in relation to the word, “affliction” (our first section), are certainly fasting-related as shall be made evident in this manuscript. Of course, this same reasoning applies to some degree – whether large or small – with all the other “key words” as well. 10 See title. Note: many other fasting-related words seen in Psalm 102 are listed below in other word categories.
ancient paths gives victory over sin and muchneeded rest to the soul! Jeremiah 6:16, Matthew 12:28-30, 1John 2:6 The ways of hwhy are ways of peace and rest.11 As we return to hwhy with fasting and prayer, we experience this rest in many ways physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Burn with Zeal, Zealous Numbers 25:6-13, 1Kings 19:8-10, Psalm 69:9,10, 2Corinthians 7:7-11, 11:28,29, Revelation 3:19 In the prophet Joel, fasting is seen to stir the jealously/zeal of hwhy in favor of His land, His people, and His inheritance. Joel 2:15-18 If fasting stirs such zeal in the Father’s heart, should we be surprised a similar zeal is stirred up and begins burning in the heart of the one fasting? Matthew 6:10 For obtaining the fullness of the indwelling Presence, the word of hwhy through Isaiah the prophet requires a contrite and humble spirit – the very things which a true fast ignites in the deepest regions of the soul as His Spirit burns with blazing zeal making our hearts His altar and transforming our lives into offerings made by fire. Leviticus 23:15-18, Deuteronomy 18:1, 1Samuel 2:28, Acts 2:1-4 12 We also note the contrast between the repentance and zeal stirred by the fasting of Daniel the prophet and the lack of fasting, zeal, and repentance among the lukewarm, complacent believers of Laodicea.13 A Few Thoughts on: 2Corinthians 7:7-11 Let us understand the context: the brethren at Corinth had taken Shaul’s advice in his previous letter to fast – to mourn concerning the issue of immorality in their midst, 1Corinthians 5:1,2. From what we read in this Scripture,14 they obviously heeded his counsel. Also, compare 2Corinthians 7:11 and their “being cleared” with a similar concept when David was fasting; the king’s fasting showed his innocence and
separation from any wrongdoing, 2Samuel 3:35,37. A Few Thoughts on: 2Corinthians 11:28,29 From all evidence, this Scripture shows us if anyone was made to stumble, Shaul burned with zeal through fasting and prayer. This was part of his response to such trials. Fasting is the means by which the weapons of our spiritual warfare become “mighty before Elohim” to the tearing down of strongholds.15 “Before Elohim” means, “in prayer.” Many men of faith have become “mighty before Elohim” through fasting and prayer, but Our Primary Example in this was eswhy the Messiah, Luke 4:1-14, 24:19. Fasting in the Name of hwhy will give us the spiritual might to “bind the strong man.” Mark 3:27, 9:29, Matthew 17:21, Daniel 10:2,3,13 Fasting-derived ardor was also seen in the One who epitomized zeal: eswhy the Messiah. Psalm 69:9, John 2:13-17 The fact is, true zeal, and true fasting, and the true power of the Spirit are all commensurate. 1Kings 19:7-14,16 Revelation 11:3,6 Fasting and prayer will set the heart ablaze with the Spirit of love and zeal for hwhy and His Kingdom. Cleanse/Wash Please note that Scripture does not violate Scripture lest you bear false witness against the writer: the principles of cleansing seen here are not contrary to the cleansing of the blood of eswhy the Messiah, the Lamb of hwhy. Once converted, hwhy shows His greater salvation to those who prepare their hearts to seek Him, to those who order their steps before Him, 2Chronicles 19:3, Ezra 7:10, Psalm 50:23. All of His principles of cleansing – physical, emotional, and spiritual – work in concert through that Ultimate Cleansing by which we draw near to Elohim. Hebrews 7:19, 10:19-22 To make the point even clearer consider the following facts: a man can plead the blood of eswhy for cleansing all day and all night, but if he is working summer construction jobs and not taking the initiative to bathe physically, after but a few days of accumulated sweat and filth, he
Contrast the lack of rest and peace in the lives of those who do not seek hwhy: Isaiah 48:22, 57:20,21, 59:8, Romans 3:17. 12 We believe the disciples were fasting before the Spirit was poured out upon them, Matthew 9:14,15, Acts 1:4,9,14, Isaiah 44:3. 13 Contrast Daniel 9:1-23 with Revelation 3:16,17,19 and Amos 6:1. 14 i.e., 2Corinthians 7:7-11
2Corinthians 10:4,5, Jeremiah 1:10 When we read Eliyah was “very jealous for hwhy of hosts,” we must realize the word “jealous” also connotes being “zealous.” See Numbers 25:11,13 Burning with zeal and jealousy for hwhy are synonymous. -4-
will have an unbearable bodily stench which quickly be accounted a dishonor to the Blood whereby he was cleansed spiritually and set apart for the purposes of hwhy, Hebrews 10:29. While it is a common sense matter, Scripture indicates there are clear differences between physical and spiritual cleansing. Hebrews 9:13,14 Just as we must take personal initiative with physical cleansing/bathing, we are also called upon by the Spirit to take the initiative to, at least, begin the process of emotional and spiritual cleansing. Afterwards, hwhy will grant the spiritual cleansing through the blood of eswhy. This cleansing will certainly carry back over in large measure to the emotional realm and, in turn, even the physical realm will not remain unaffected. The prophet Isaiah writes of cleansing which hwhy sometimes requires to be initiated by the ones seeking Him before He will act on His part to bring about the spiritual cleansing: Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do good; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Isaiah 1:16,17 After the one seeking hwhy by fasting and prayer does these things, He then responds: Come now, and let us reason together, says hwhy: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 So it is through fasting that the true worshipper takes the initiative to undergo much-needed inner cleansing to the body which is physical, emotional, and spiritual in nature (Matthew 23:26, James 4:8); such cleansing washes away improper, unhealthy, and filthy hindrances to the Spirit’s applying the blood of eswhy over our spiritual needs. The following texts show these principles of cleansing work in concert: • Compare Numbers 19:11-13 with Genesis 50:1,10,11 and 1Samuel 31:11-13. The sevenday fast/cleanse corresponds to the seven days one is unclean after touching the body of a dead person. • Leviticus 16:30,31 • Deuteronomy 10:16, Jeremiah 4:4,8,14, Leviticus 26:40-42. Fasting in the Name will
humble and cleanse the proud, uncircumcised heart. Acts 7:51 • Psalm 51:1,2,7; the context of this psalm is set in relation to David’s fast for the child which would eventually die. Note: to substantiate this, see the title of Psalm 51 and 2Samuel 12:1,1317. • Zechariah 12:10 - 13:1. 13:1 speaks of the physical, emotional, and spiritual cleansing which accompanies fasting. • Matthew 23:26. In this Scripture, eswhy is teaching there is something which the individual must do on his or her part to initiate cleansing! The apostle Shaul also taught of personal responsibility and initiative in relation to fasting, Philippians 2:12. So let none imagine we deny the cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb or the salvation which that brings [unless you are willing to teach the Messiah denied Himself!]. The truth is, fasting-derived fear and trembling bring forth and appropriate the overwhelming reality of the Messiah’s cleansing sacrifice, atonement, and anointing in the life of one who seeks Him in such a fitting and reverent manner, Isaiah 57:15. Misconceptions about fasting are among the Adversary’s greatest ploys – all staged to hinder the work of the Spirit and the furtherance of the Kingdom in our midst. • 2Corinthians 7:1 • James 4:8 17 Contrite, Poor (in spirit), Brokenhearted Psalm 34:18, 51:17 (see note on Psalm 51 in the section above), 69:29,33, 102:17, 109:22, Isaiah 57:15, 61:1, 66:2, Matthew 5:3 (compare 2Corinthians 7:9,10, James 4:8). As we compare the unclean, uncircumcised, and disobedient heart with the contrite heart – humbled and washed from rebellion – it becomes readily apparent that fasting is one of the means whereby we obtain and maintain a heart which is circumcised. Not coincidentally, Shaul was fasting and praying for three days before his immersion18 – an act which he would later refer to as “circumcision … of the heart.”19 The principles of cleansing work in concert – in and amongst all three realms: the physical, the
In ending this section, we note ashes are very much related to cleansing in the mind and wisdom of hwhy. Numbers 19:9,17-19, Hebrews 9:13 18 Acts 9:9-18 19 Colossians 2:11,12, Romans 2:28,29 -517
emotional, and the spiritual. The initial physical/emotional cleansing occurs from earth to heaven (Isaiah 1:16,17, Matthew 23:26); it is our responsibility. This opens a way for the ultimate, all-important, spiritual cleansing to occur from heaven to earth, Isaiah 1:18, Matthew 6:10. hwhy promised if the uncircumcised hearts of His people in captivity were humbled (meaning: through fasting and prayer!), He would then bring them back to the Land once more. Leviticus 26:40-42 We find this Scripture was precisely fulfilled through the prophet Daniel: in Babylonian captivity, he humbled his heart with fasting and prayer and his petitions were heard, Daniel 9:1-23. Only then was Yisrael brought back to their country. Rending one’s garment ultimately spoke of “rending the heart,” for it is the latter which hwhy requires20 of those who seek to offer true sacrifices before Him. Joel 2:13, 2Kings 22:19 Cry Esther 4:1, Psalm 69:3, 77:2 Since fasting humbles and softens the heart, those who worship and seek hwhy in this manner will often shed authentic tears of compassion for those around them. Acts 20:31, Psalm 35:13,14 For further details, see the following key words: “Mourn,” “Sorrow,” “Tears,” and “Weep.” Despised, Reproach, Reproached Job 30:1,8-10, Psalm 22:6, 42:10, 69:10,11,19, 20, 102:8, 109:24,25, 119:141, Lamentations 3:30, Matthew 5:10-12 (cf. Matthew 5:4 and 2Corinthians 6:10) Dust Genesis 18:27, Joshua 7:6, Job 2:11,12, 42:6, Psalm 44:25, 119:25,21 Lamentations 3:29 Those fasting cleave to the dust, Psalm 119:25. In doing so, they acknowledge their origin,22 their destiny23 and their complete dependence upon the Creator. For only He who has given life to this dust can be the One to continue giving it.24 Returning to and embracing our humble origin can be very powerful;
instinctively, we all return to our beginnings and find some measure of comfort; in this manner the Law of hwhy shows one way in which fasting restores the soul, Psalm 19:7, 23:3. In light of our origin – itself quite humble apart from the Eternal creative power which gave forth such miraculous beauty to mere clay25 – we can more soberly see and assess the trials and difficulties of life. The realization that we are practically nothing26 – that our absolute dependency must be on hwhy alone – will bring a humility which yields much-needed peace and clarity in times of adversity. Galatians 5:22, James 3:18 Fear and Trembling Ezra 9:3-6, Nehemiah 1:4,11, Psalm 2:11, Isaiah 66:2, Hosea 13:1, 1Corinthians 2:3, 2Corinthians 7:15, Philippians 2:12 When one is under the affliction of fasting it is oftentimes impossible to read the Scriptures, or to sing, or to pray, or to serve hwhy without the heart melting into tears of joy, gratitude, contrition and awe: the Spirit of the Most High has come to dwell with a special anointing, Isaiah 57:15, Luke 7:37,38. Because he fasted often,27 the apostle Shaul was often overwhelmed when reading or speaking the word of hwhy before the brethren. This is why he spoke to them “with tears”28 and this is why he wrote of being in their midst with “fear and trembling.”29 As we compare the reference texts given for these particular key words, it is readily seen that to work out one’s salvation with “fear and trembling”30 is also to be a believer given to fasting-derived meekness and humility. The fear and trembling induced by fasting are expressions of reverence before hwhy and they are the hallmarks of a broken and contrite heart. Luke 7:37-50 (The) Fear/Reverence of hwhy 31
Psalm 51:17, Luke 7:44 All eight verses here [25-32] relate to fasting/repentance. 22 Genesis 2:7 23 Genesis 3:19 24 Genesis 2:7, Psalm 119:25, Daniel 5:23
Psalm 139:14 Exodus 16:7,8; apart from hwhy, we are nothing but worms of the dust. Job 25:6, Psalm 22:6, Isaiah 41:14 27 2Corinthians 6:5, 11:27 28 Acts 20:31 29 1Corinthians 2:3, Hosea 13:1 30 Philippians 2:12 31 It could be suggested this discussion might be better included under the previous heading, “Fear and Trembling,” … and rightly so. Presently, we have given it a separate place in the study. However, the previous -626
Nothing cultivates the fear/reverence of hwhy more than prayer with fasting: as we humble ourselves through fasting, the Presence of hwhy becomes greater in our lives and we become vessels of service to impart this Presence to others as well. Those who fast and pray with sincere, contrite hearts find they have entered a blessed realm – a sanctuary in time and space: the very Presence of hwhy.32 Since the reverence of hwhy is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom,33 this explains why those who cultivate such reverence through fasting and prayer also have their minds more fully illumined by the Spirit. This is that “greater favor” of which James wrote: the “greater favor” which he said is imparted to those who seek and find fastingderived humility. James 4:6 Possessing such reverence/fear and hearing the voice of His Spirit will cause His Spirit to dwell with us mightily.34 Possessing such reverence and hearing the voice of His Spirit will give us greater discernment and insight.35 Possessing such reverence and hearing the voice of His Spirit will surely increase our understanding of His word.36 Possessing such reverence and hearing the voice of His Spirit will surely lead us to keep the commandments of hwhy. Genesis 26:5, Ecclesiastes 12:13, 1John 5:2,3 “The fear of hwhy prolongeth days.” Proverbs 10:27 This author believes one reason Abraham, Yitschak, and Ya’acob lived such long lives is that the patriarchs served hwhy with much fasting and prayer; as a result, they lived lives of deep reverence for hwhy. Consequently, Abraham lived to be 175, Yitschak lived to be 180, and Ya’acob lived to be 147.37 Anna – who served hwhy “with fastings and prayers day and night” – lived to a great age, too. Luke 2:36,37 She was
still going strong at some 84 years old when the Messiah was revealed in Jerusalem. While fasting gives us spiritual rest in hwhy, it also provides our bodies much-needed physical rest as well: the heart beat slows giving special rest to a highly important muscle; the stomach and other digestive organs are able to cease working and obtain rest from their production of various chemicals needed for digesting and metabolizing food; the blood pressure drops; and the body can do an overall cleansing of waste products which it did not have the energy to expel while food was being consumed, processed, assimilated, and expelled. It is not just coincidental that a discourse on fasting appears in the prophet Isaiah38 along with various mentions of the Sabbath ordinance. Both Sabbath-keeping and fasting are sources of much-needed rest which our Creator knows we require. Mark 2:27 Fasting cultivates a special closeness to hwhy and causes us to stand in awe of His Name, His greatness, His love. Malachi 2:5 Standing in awe of Him makes us more loving and obedient. This deep reverence is the fear of hwhy and this is the beginning of true wisdom and true knowledge.39 Because of this, those who seek hwhy with fasting and prayer40 also gain a greater understanding of His word and ways than they would otherwise possess. The light of hwhy will arise upon us as we draw near to His light-filled Presence.41 Heaviness (and Vigilance) Psalm 30:5, 77:2-6, 119:28, Isaiah 61:3, 62:6,7, James 4:9 When comparing Psalm 126:1,2 with James 4:9, these Scriptures, together, reveal how one’s laughter is turned to mourning and how one’s joy is turned to heaviness: those who sleep through the night and obtain full rest are blessed with the refreshment of what we call “REM sleep” – the sleep which occurs when we are dreaming in the time of deepest sleep. Those who obtain proper
section provides a fine preface for this discussion which, at least for now, remains separate. 32 Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 46:1,7; 90:1; 91:1,4,9,14; Isaiah 8:13,14 33 Job 28:28, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, 9:10 38 34 See Isaiah, chapter 58. Isaiah 57:15, 65:1-2, Luke 4:1-14, Acts 6:8, Colossians 39 Our previously cited texts with one additional: 1:29, Ephesians 3:19-20 35 Deuteronomy 13:4, Job 28:28, Psalm 25:14, 111:10, Proverbs 28:11, James 2:5 (“the poor of this world” Proverbs 1:7, 9:10 certainly includes those who are poor in spirit, Matthew 40 That is, who seek Him with their whole hearts! 5:3). 36 Jeremiah 29:13 We will study this in our final section, Psalm 97:11, 119:105, Isaiah 58:8,10, John 14:21 37 Genesis 25:7, 35:28, 47:28. hwhy is even called, “the “Whole Heart, Wholehearted, All Your Heart(s).” 41 Psalm 36:9, 97:11, 112:4, 118:26,27, Isaiah 50:10, Fear” of Yitschak, and, of the three, he is the one who 58:8-10, 60:1-3/Ephesians 5:14, Malachi 4:2, James 4:8 lived the longest. Genesis 31:42,53, Proverbs 10:27 -7-
rest42 typically awaken with laughter and singing; they are refreshed and ready to go! It is to this natural joy and refreshment that the 126th Psalm refers by the analogy, “We were like those that dream.” However, when one remains awake through the night this restful dreaming does not occur. Consequently, such vigilance will literally turn one’s laughter to mourning and one’s joy to heaviness.43 The result of such night-long vigilance is deep affliction. While one will not remain vigilant throughout the night every time a fast is undertaken, watching in prayer is still another aspect of being a true shepherd44 and it is another simple, but profound, aspect of Spirit-led humility and affliction. Humble, Humbled, Humble Yourselves 2Chronicles 7:14, 33:12, Psalm 35:13, Micah 6:8, Daniel 10:2,3,12,45 Luke 18:13,14, James 4:10, 1Peter 5:6,9,10 Fasting is essential for any who desire to cultivate a submissive, meek, and lowly heart. Together, all of these things are the hallmarks of true humility.46 The literal Hebrew of Micah 6:8 reads:
He has declared to you, man, what is good; and what does hwhy require of you except to do judgment, and to love kindness, and to be lowly to walk with your Elohim? Since fasting humbles, or afflicts, the soul, we believe the phrase, “fasting-derived humility,” is completely accurate and true to the Scriptures. Fasting in the Name of hwhy will humble the uncircumcised heart.47 Pride is easily the most blinding impediment to spiritual progress,48 and there are many layers of this crusty filth which have built up on the characters of most believers before their conversion.49 As our pride is stripped away, we will also find a greater hunger and thirst for the word and ways of hwhy.50 Hunger/Thirst (Seek) Psalm 42:1-3, 63:1,2, Hosea 10:12, Matthew 5:6, 6:33, Hebrews 6:7,8 Only fasting-derived humility can break up the fallow ground and cultivate the soil of the heart so the words and deeds of hwhy can take the deepest root as we are watered by the rain of His Spirit. Hosea 10:12, Hebrews 6:7,8 It is those who hunger and thirst for such righteousness who truly seek Him. Notice those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – who fast and mourn with ashes and heaviness – are those who are also satisfied as they become “trees of righteousness;” they become something firmly planted/established by hwhy in His ancient paths. Isaiah 61:3, 1Peter 5:6,10, Psalm 1:1-3, Jeremiah 17:7,8. Those who mourn in their hunger and thirst are comforted by the outpouring of His Spirit. Isaiah 44:3, 61:1-3, Matthew 5:4 The Ruach haQodesh51 is even called, “The Comforter.” John 14:26 We hunger
Assuming they are grateful believers who, by and large, are in good health. 43 For “heaviness” see also: Psalm 119:28 and Isaiah 61:3. The latter text contrasts joy and praise with the mourning and heaviness associated with fasting. At the end of a fast, hwhy turns our mourning into dancing. Psalm 30:11-12 44 Regular shepherds must watch their flocks by night, Luke 2:8. So it is with those who would shepherd the flock of hwhy; the “Good Shepherd” watched over His flock by night: Luke 6:12-19, Matthew 14:23-25, Mark 6:46-51 Further, the apostle Shaul also spoke of watching in prayer. 2Corinthians 6:5, 11:27 Watching over the flock with vigilant prayer through the night was another aspect of his service to the brethren and provides us further proof he was a true shepherd. 45 In Daniel 10:12, the KJV translates “humble/afflict thyself” as “chasten thyself” – a clear reference to fasting.
most contemporary believers as, in many cases, false humility (or pride) is exalted as “humility,” while true humility is vilified as “pride.” Isaiah 5:20 The longer one walks in fasting-derived humility, the more the truth of these things will become apparent. Poverty – whether 46 While some have a natural lowliness in their character, physical or spiritual – will heighten our awareness and there is still pride in the heart when such lowliness is understanding. Proverbs 28:11 Therein, we shall better unaccompanied by submission to the Torah/will of hwhy. understand pride and humility. 47 Psalm 119:21 And while true meekness in dealing with Leviticus 26:41, Psalm 35:13, 69:10 48 others is important (Genesis 13:8,9), if it results in Psalm 10:4, Revelation 3:17 49 pleasing men instead of doing the will of hwhy (which Not to mention the various forms of pride which are thing the apostles refused to do! Acts 5:27-29, Galatians taught by example and accepted as the social norm 1:10), then we are no longer walking in humility. throughout most religious sectors in our time. 50 Psalm 103:7, 1Samuel 2:5, Psalm 81:10, Luke 1:53 Submission, meekness, and lowliness of heart must be 51 (i.e., the Pure Spirit of hwhy) kept in balance. This issue is beyond the understanding of -8-
and thirst physically and spiritually through fasting and prayer, and every time we seek hwhy in this manner He promises to fill us. Psalm 81:10, Luke 1:53 Meek, Meekness Numbers 12:3, Isaiah 61:1, Zephaniah 2:3, Matthew 5:5, 11:29, James 1:21, 3:13 The text of Numbers 12:3 refers to the meekness which Moses sought and found during his 80 days of fasting. Few ponder the need to seek for meekness as expressed by hwhy through the prophet, Zephaniah (2:3). In his epistle, James sets forth fasting-derived meekness as the necessary key in conquering man’s anger and avoiding carnal strife among the brethren so the righteousness of hwhy can be manifested.52 Fasting in the Spirit is a work of righteousness53 and meekness is one of the fruits produced by that righteousness. Meekness is produced by the Spirit in those who sow to the Spirit;54 it is a fruit which the Spirit is enabled to grow within those who humble themselves by fasting and prayer.55 James’ words, “Receive with meekness the implanted word,” … explain to us why fasting and prayer lead to the fullest possible understanding of the Scriptures: it is only through meekness that one is able to fully receive … hear … understand … accept … and do the word of hwhy. This shows why (and how!) one must become like a child to inherit the Kingdom of hwhy. Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17 We are called to lay aside carnal strife, malice, and evil speaking that we might become like children in our longing for His word and ways, 1Peter 2:1. Those who never lay aside these deeds of the flesh will also never progress, spiritually. It is only through fasting and prayer that yokes of bondage to such evil things are broken away56 allowing us to seek and find true meekness. Zephaniah 2:3, Matthew 7:7,8 Mercy, Merciful (Kind, Kindness)
According to Scripture, “mercy,” or “lovingkindness,” is something which faithful Israelites showed to the poor, Daniel 4:27, Proverbs 14:21,31. Contrast the sodomites – gluttonous reprobates who were filled with excess of bread and careless ease and who, thus, did nothing for the poor and needy. Their lack of humility from continual fullness led to commonplace gluttony which, in turn, led to outright denial of hwhy through abominable deeds of proud, defiant, sexual immorality. Ezekiel 16:49, Proverbs 30:9 When properly fasting, believers become poor, figuratively speaking;57 theirs is a poverty in spirit; theirs is a poor, contrite heart.58 Such believers are rightly called upon by hwhy and the Messiah to tangibly identify with the plight of the afflicted and impoverished during such personal times of Spirit-led affliction, humility and worship.59 This helps us to understand why it is fitting and proper to reach out with assistance for the poor and needy while one is fasting. Romans 12:16, Ecclesiastes 7:2 eswhy our Messiah did the same as He bound up the brokenhearted, Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18, 7:37-50, John 11:32-44. Thus, even when He taught, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy,”60 eswhy was calling His followers to couple fasting with mercy upon the physically poor in accordance with the Law and the Prophets. Isaiah 58:6,7,10 Yet the Messiah also taught we should extend mercy to the spiritually poor in accordance with the Law of the Spirit, the Law which magnifies the Torah by the release of spiritual debt as well: “And forgive us our debts as we have forgiven those indebted to us.” Matthew 6:12-15 We see from the context of the above words (vss. 12-15) that overcoming sin and walking in victory are simply not possible unless we become vessels of mercy; we must “love mercy”61 as we pray for others and forgive them
See James 1:19-22, 3:13,18, 4:1-12. The fourth chapter deals specifically with fasting in the context of overcoming lust and strife. 53 Matthew 6:1, 16-19 54 Galatians 6:8 55 Romans 6:22, 7:4, Ephesians 5:9, Colossians 1:16, Galatians 5:22,23. 56 Isaiah 58:6
This is further explained below via the Scriptures which appear under the heading “Poor/Contrite.” 58 Psalm 34:18, Isaiah 57:15, 66:2, Matthew 5:3 59 See Isaiah 58:6,7, Matthew 6:1 (righteousness), Matthew 6:2-4 (alms), Matthew 6:16-19 (fasting). 60 Matthew 5:7 61 Micah 6:8 -9-
in the Presence of the Most High. As we grow in respect to salvation, extending such forgiveness becomes a remarkable occasion of great freedom and joy during times of personal prayer. Become a vessel of mercy and you will also find increasing victories in walking above sin and the world. In contrast, those who are given to backbiting and slander, who begrudge and resent those who have wronged them, and who harbor bitterness from things past … such people are also not overcoming sin or growing in respect to salvation; they will surely remain in bondage to sin;62 they will not be delivered from evil, Matthew 6:12-15. The evil of bitterness and unforgiveness is tantamount to looking upon the spiritual nakedness of our brethren63 as opposed to clothing them in mercy. Isaiah 58:7 Clothing others, spiritually,64 verses looking on their nakedness65 is the difference between having a ministry of mercy and edification or having a ministry of judgment and condemnation.66 We can either seek to “clothe” the spiritually naked with mercy and forgiveness, or we can parade the nakedness of others for all to see via judgment and condemnation. Both eswhy and James speak of mercy67 in the context of anger and strife68 and both offer the same solution in the same context: fasting-derived meekness and humility. Matthew 5:3-9, 6:16-19, 7:5, James 1:19-21, 3:13,17-18, 4:5-10. Fasting and prayer will cleanse the heart and mind from carnal, earthly emotions and align us with the will of hwhy. James wrote that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, and such things are cultivated by an authentic, reverent fast: 1. We are before hwhy in quiet submission – we are silent and ready to hear and obey His voice;69
we are fulfilling “the Shema.” Deuteronomy 6:4,5 2. We are slow to speak as we stand in awe of His Name, His Spirit, His Presence. Ecclesiastes 5:1,2, Malachi 2:4,5 3. We are slow to anger as we acknowledge hwhy operates with sovereign love over every aspect of our lives. Romans 8:35-39 The need to blame others for our circumstances is gone: the sovereign King ultimately rules over all things – including the injustice and carnality by which we may suffer at the hands of others.70 We, too, should be continually overwhelmed at the Good News of the Kingdom: hwhy reigns! 1Chronicles 16:31, Psalm 47:2,3,7,8, 93:1, 96:10, 97:1, 99:1, Isaiah 52:7, Revelation 19:6 The attitudes seen in the above three points are an affront to man’s anger which James declares does not promote the righteousness of Elohim, James 1:20, Matthew 6:33. The implication is unavoidable: fasting and prayer humble the soul and promote the righteousness of hwhy in our lives. As we suffer affliction in the flesh through fasting, the Spirit breaks every yoke of bondage and delivers us from the power of improper thoughts, emotions, and actions. Isaiah 58:6, 1Peter 4:1-3 Mourn, Mourned, Mourning Genesis 50:1,10,11, 2Samuel 3:31, Nehemiah 1:4, Esther 4:3, Job 1:20 (w/ Job 2:11), Psalm 30:11,12, 35:13,14, Isaiah 61:2,3, Daniel 10:2,3, Zechariah 12:11-14,71 Matthew 5:4, 9:14,15, 1Corinthians 5:1,2, James 4:9. Without contest, mourning is linked to times of fasting, contrition, and repentance.72 This mourning may also involve prayer over the wrongdoing of others, Psalm 119:136, Jeremiah 13:17, 14:17-22, Ezekiel 9:4, 1Corinthians 5:1,2. Those who mourn are comforted by the outpouring and fullness of His Spirit. Isaiah 44:3, 61:1-3, Matthew 5:4. The Ruach
1Peter 2:1 By spiritual application of the Torah, something which we are forbidden to do, Leviticus 18:6-16. 64 Matthew 7:5 65 Matthew 7:3,4 66 Compare Matthew 7:1-5 and James 2:12,13. 67 70 Matthew 5:7, 6:12-15; 7:1-5, James 2:12,13,14-17, Ecclesiastes 5:8, Isaiah 40:25-27 71 See 1Corinthians 7:5 regarding separation during 3:17, 5:19,20 68 Matthew 5:21,22, 38-44, James 1:19-21, 3:2-10, 14-16, fasting. 72 And fasting is linked to mourning. Our society brings 4:1,2,11,12 69 Genesis 26:4,5, Psalm 46:10, Isaiah 30:15. The concept food to funerals when just the opposite should be of quietly waiting before hwhy in silent awe will be further occurring: during times of grieving, those who are in confirmed in the forthcoming section entitled, “Silence.” mourning should also be fasting. - 10 -
haQodesh (or, the Pure Spirit of hwhy) is even called, “The Comforter.” John 14:26 Peacemakers Matthew 5:9, Mark 9:50, Romans 12:18, Hebrew 12:14,15, James 1:19-21, 3:18, 4:1-12. Fasting is “the way of peace” and rest as we seek hwhy and ask Him for “the ancient paths.” Matthew 7:7,8, Jeremiah 6:16 The Father of all kindness ever extends to His people the paths of rest and peace which may only be known by those who, through fasting and prayer, receive “times of refreshing” from the Presence of hwhy, Isaiah 28:12, 30:15, Matthew 11:28-30. Those who humble themselves to seek His eternal paths become peacemakers with the Almighty as well as with their fellow man. Romans 5:1, Mark 9:50 Poor/Contrite Psalm 34:18, 51:17,73 69:29,33, 102:17, 109:22, Isaiah 57:15, 66:2, Matthew 5:3, 2Corinthians 7:10. The humility and affliction brought on by fasting prepare the heart. How? By humbling the heart and, at times, by breaking it!74 A heart which is rent before the Presence of the Most High can then be molded into His image. Through fasting and prayer we are enabled to offer the true sacrifices of a broken, contrite heart. Prepare/Purify/Sanctify the Heart Exodus 19:10,11,14,15 (cf. 1Corinthians 7:5), Deuteronomy 5:29, 1Samuel 7:3, 1Kings 8:4849, 2Chronicles 12:14, 19:3, Ezra 7:10, Psalm 10:17, 51:10,75 78:8,37, 119:32, Jeremiah 29:1314, Ezekiel 33:31, Joel 2:12-13, Matthew 5:8, 7:5, James 4:8. The word “sanctify” means “to set apart.” If entered into with all sincerity, the cleansing nature of fasting and prayer will set apart our hearts totally unto hwhy. Through fasting, we purify our hearts and dedicate our lives wholly unto Him. To please hwhy the most in our lives, He requires that we seek Him with all our heart; fasting is the main means by which we obtain and express such wholehearted commitment.
Through fasting and prayer the whole heart is offered up before hwhy! Offering our whole heart is effectively offering all that we are and all that we possess. Hence, fasting with prayer is the spiritual counterpart to the whole, burnt offering! Apart from fasting and prayer, the ongoing, unchanging requirement of the ultimate, whole burnt offering cannot be met in the life of a believer. Romans 12:1,2 Our works will not be perfected before Elohim if we lack fasting-derived meekness and humility because we will also fail to seek hwhy with the whole heart. Revelation 3:2, 2Chronicles 12:14 The greatest commandment in the Torah is to hear hwhy and to respond with wholehearted love and obedience, Deuteronomy 6:4,5, Mark 12:2930. Through fasting, the Spirit prepares our hearts to hear His voice and to do the will of hwhy. Genesis 26:4,5 In contrast, a person’s unwillingness to hear the Torah, even makes that one’s prayer an abomination. Proverbs 28:9 If our motives are right, fasting is an act of submission to hwhy76 which shows our ears are open and our hearts are seeking and awaiting His guidance. Isaiah 58:8,11 Fasting is an expression of our desire to live righteously! 2Timothy 3:12, Matthew 5:10-12 Through fasting, the Spirit ignites the zeal of hwhy within our hearts and this desire for righteousness grows stronger and stronger. Repent, Return, Turn Deuteronomy 30:10, 2Chronicles 7:14, Joel 2:12, Ezekiel 18:31, 33:11, Matthew 13:15, Revelation 3:9 Reproach, Reproached, Dishonor Job 30:1,8-10, Psalm 42:10, 69:10,11,19,20, 102:8, 109:24,25, 119:141, Isaiah 53:2,3, Lamentations 3:30, Matthew 5:10-12, 2Corinthians 6:4-10 Sackcloth 2Samuel 3:31, Psalm 30:11, 35:13, 69:10,11, Isaiah 58:5, Daniel 9:3, Jonah 3:5,6, Matthew 11:21, Revelation 11:3. The donning of sackcloth is another element of affliction which was/is still recognized even by the Messiah. Seek, Sought
See note on Psalm 51 and its relationship to fasting in the discussion under the key word, “Cleanse.” 74 2Chronicles 34:27, Joel 2:12,13 75 See note on Psalm 51 and its relationship to fasting in the discussion under the key word, “Cleanse.”
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2Chronicles 7:14, 14:4,7, 15:4, 20:3, Ezra 8:21, Esther 4:1, Psalm 42:1,2, 63:1, 77:2, Jeremiah 29:13, Lamentations 3:30, Daniel 9:3, Hosea 10:12, Zephaniah 2:3, Matthew 6:16-18,33, 7:7,8. There is a strong connection with fasting and seeking hwhy with all one’s heart: only fastingderived humility can break up the fallow ground and cultivate the soil of the heart so the words and deeds of hwhy can take the deepest root as the rain of His Spirit falls upon us, Hosea 10:12, Hebrews 6:7,8. Believers who seek hwhy in this manner are those who truly “hunger and thirst” for His righteousness. Isaiah 54:17 They truly seek Him with the whole heart. eswhy promises they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 It is only through fasting and prayer that we may fulfill the word of hwhy through the prophet Hoshea: Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap according to lovingkindness; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek hwhy until He comes and rains righteousness upon you. Hoshea 10:12 If we seek first the Kingdom of hwhy and His righteousness, He promises we will find Him, but hwhy requires we seek Him with all our hearts. This is only possible through the wholehearted sacrifices which surround fasting and prayer. Silence Psalm 62:1, Isaiah 30:15, 58:4,9,13, Jeremiah 8:14, 15:17, Lamentations 3:26-29, Job 42:16/Romans 3:19/Habukkuk 2:1,20, Zechariah 2:13/Zephaniah 2:1-3/Isaiah 26:20,21 Fasting is a time for silence because fasting is a time for reflection. Unless we are praying, silence, meditation, and introspection are the order of the day as we draw near to and abide in the Presence of hwhy. When fasting we present ourselves before hwhy in quiet submission: we are silent as we ready/prepare our hearts to hear and to obey His voice. We are well on the way to fulfilling “the Shema” in an all-important, extremely essential manner. Deuteronomy 6:4,5 When fasting before hwhy, we are dwelling in “the secret place of the Most High.” Psalm 91:1 This is the “secret place” to which both the psalmist as well as eswhy the Messiah referred. Matthew 6:6,18 During such times, we should wait before hwhy in silent submission to hear
whatever His Spirit will speak. Habakkuk 2:1,20 We should wait before hwhy in silent expectation for whatever He will do in response to our fasting and prayers. The Hebrew text of Psalm 62:1 reads: Only unto Elohim is my soul silent, from Him is my salvation. Psalm 62:1 Regrettably, this verse is often translated in a fashion similar to the King James Version: “Truly my soul waiteth upon Elohim: from Him cometh my salvation.” The poor translation omits the truth of silently/quietly expecting the salvation of hwhy. Lamentations 3:26,28,29 Such a translations conceal the deep reverence of silently, but expectantly waiting before the Most High during certain times of fasting and prayer. It should be emphasized, we do not here speak of an idle silence, but rather, a reverent silence – a silence which emanates from a heart which is returning to and resting in Elohim, a silence which emanates from a heart filled with quietness, confidence, and awe over the sovereignty, power, and foreknowledge of hwhy: For thus says the Sovereign hwhy, the Qadosh One of Yisrael: “In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” … Isaiah 30:15 During a fast, silent times of complete trust and deference to the will of hwhy are truly some of the most powerful and faith-building seasons in the life of a believer. From this silence, should emanate the restful assurance which comes from the confidence in knowing hwhy will always and ultimately do those things which bring Him great splendor and exaltation. These are the times of rest and refreshing when we fulfill the Scripture: Be still, and know that I am Elohim: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 It was a life given to fasting and prayer which gave Mosheh the faith to speak these words before all Yisrael in a time of utmost danger: Fear you not, stand still, and see the salvation of hwhy, which He will show to you to day: for the
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Egyptians whom you have seen to day, you shall see them again no more for ever. Exodus 14:13 Upon which, hwhy opened the Sea of Reeds and Yisrael passed through on dry ground. The faith which can be still and confident before hwhy in fasting and prayer is also the faith which can be still and confident in the face of great adversity. Times of fasting and prayer are special appointments for us to “be still” and to know that He is Elohim in many profound and powerful ways. Small Psalm 119:141, John 3:30 The words of John the immerser77 – who fasted often78 as he came in the Spirit and power of Eliyah79 – speak so amazingly of the process which occurs during the fast: those fasting decrease (both physically and emotionally) thereby allowing His Spirit and His word to increase within them. Our carnal emotions and thoughts decrease while those of eswhy increase, James 1:19-21, 1Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5. In this way, hwhy is enabled to reveal His Son in us. Galatians 1:15,16, 2:20 The results will always be remarkable … at times seen only by the one fasting while at other times, seen and known by all. 1Timothy 4:15
When one is under the affliction of fasting it is oftentimes impossible to read the Scriptures, or to sing, or to pray, or to serve hwhy without the heart melting into tears of joy, gratitude, contrition, and awe: the Spirit of the Most High has come to dwell with a special anointing, Isaiah 57:15, Luke 7:37,38. This is the reverent way in which the apostle Shaul served hwhy with fear and rejoiced with trembling,80 and this is the way which anyone who walks the lowly road81 of affliction and humility will be blessed to serve their Creator. Weak 2Samuel 3:31,35,39, Psalm 109:24, 1Corinthians 2:3, 9:22, 2Corinthians 11:28,29, 12:9,10. Fasting leads to physical weakness, but as we decrease the Spirit and presence of eswhy can increase. hwhy stated that He will help His people when He sees their strength is gone: For hwhy rightly rules His people and has compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone, and there is no one remaining, shut up or at large. Deuteronomy 32:36, ISRV When we, through weakness, have ceased to trust in our own arm, the Right Hand of hwhy can intervene with His deliverance, His working, His salvation. Fasting is designed to humble our hearts so we will not lean on our own understanding; we are driven to look to hwhy alone. Because the apostle Sha’ul always responded to difficulties with fasting and prayer, he could say the following over all his trials: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2Corinthians 12:10 Weep, Wept, Weeping Numbers 25:6, 2Samuel 12:21, Nehemiah 1:4, Esther 4:3, Job 2:11,12, Psalm 30:5,11, Joel 2:15,17, James 4:9 Whole Heart, Wholehearted, All Your Heart(s) Deuteronomy 4:29, 6:4,5, 10:12, 11:13, 30:6, 2Kings 23:25, 2Chronicles 15:12,15, 16:9, 31:21, Psalm 9:1, 86:12, 111:1, 119:2,10,34,58,69,145, 138:1, Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 6:24, Mark 12:29,30
Sorrow/Reverent Sorrow Psalm 69:29, Matthew 5:4 <=> 2Corinthians 6:410, 2Corinthians 7:7,9. In the context of “reverent sorrow,” the brethren at Corinth had taken Shaul’s advice to fast – to mourn concerning the issue of immorality over which he had given counsel in his first epistle, 1Corinthians 5:1,2. Thus, their reverent sorrow – which came upon them through the act of fasting – produced the burning zeal (vs. 11) as well as the other things about which Shaul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians. Tears Psalm 42:1-3, Acts 20:31 (cf. 1Corinthians 2:3, 2Corinthians 6:5, 11:27).
77 78 79
80 Psalm 2:11, Hosea 13:1, Acts 20:31, 1Corinthians 2:3, In John 3:30 Matthew 9:14, 11:18 2Corinthians 7:15, Philippians 2:12 81 1Kings 18:36-38, 19:8-10, Malachi 4:5,6, Luke 1:15-17 Matthew 11:28-30 - 13 -
It is fitting we end our listing of key words with thoughts surrounding the need to be wholehearted in our worship of hwhy. We have already largely covered many of the texts in this closing section, and we have also discussed the relationship between fasting, humility, and seeking hwhy with the whole heart. Yet consider once more the relationship between seeking our Creator and being wholehearted: hwhy does not want us to draw near to Him with our lips while our hearts are far from Him. Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8, Mark 7:6 Failure to love hwhy wholeheartedly can only be the result of setting up idols in the heart, Ezekiel 14:1-8, 33:31, Colossians 3:5. Hence, we must be on guard against such idolatry at all times, and we must not allow anything to usurp the rightful place of our Creator and Redeemer, Proverbs 4:23, 1John 5:21, Revelation 9:20. It is through fasting that we are enabled to offer our hearts to hwhy as a whole, burnt offering. We are commanded to set apart hwhy as Sovereign in our hearts – another instance requiring initiative on our part and another command which can only be fulfilled in a life given to fasting and prayer. 1Peter 3:15, Isaiah 8:13 For when we have prepared our hearts to hear His voice and to obey His Law out of love,82 the fire of His Spirit can fall from heaven upon us to consume the sacrifice. This is the thing which hwhy desires the most from each one of us; it is truly the ultimate and greatest sacrifice which can be given unto Him:
For there is one Elohim; and there is no other besides Him. And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the being, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is more than all the burnt offerings and offerings. Mark 12:32,33, ISRV
of life.” The saying is true and worthy of all acceptance. So should it be with the people of hwhy in every generation. Many spiritual principles are cyclical wherein one thing (we will call it “occurrence A”) leads to another (which we will call “occurrence B”); but not long hence, “occurrence B” leads back once more to “occurrence A.” Consider the following which relates to the believer’s love for hwhy83 and revelation which the Spirit gives us of Him and His Word.84 In love and favor, hwhy reveals Himself and His word (“occurrence A”). As a result, we love Him more and stand more in awe of His Presence. But this new-found love for hwhy (our “occurrence B”) makes us obey Him in ways richer and greater. Such loving obedience, however, leads hwhy to once more revealing Himself unto us (“occurrence A”) in new and marvelous ways, Psalm 40:1-3, John 14:21. It is also noted this cycle could have been started with either of the two occurrences and it would have led once again to the other (which, in turn, would have started the cycle over once more). This is, as it were, a perpetual motion machine in the spiritual realm: whichever comes first in the above cycle, it always leads back to the original phenomenon. Either of the two will lead to, or generate, the other. And so it is with certain fasting-related phenomena: one who is truly afflicted will probably have no desire to eat anyway, while one who may not be afflicted85 becomes afflicted once a fast begins. Fasting prepares the heart86 and gives proper, sober alignment to our thoughts and emotions during the difficult decisions and tough situations in life. Affliction leads to fasting,87 but fasting also leads to/results in affliction: the two “go hand-in-hand,” as we say in America. Job responded to his great troubles with the affliction and humility of fasting, Job 1:20,21, 2:11-13. The context of the entire book is fasting-related because Job is fasting while speaking and doing those things which are recorded in its pages.
This ends our listing of the key words which the Spirit of hwhy associates with fasting throughout the Law, the Prophets, and the Messianic writings.
In summary, after a few hours pondering many of the above Scriptures (and the key words related to fasting), one dear brother so aptly said over the faithful Hebrews, …“Fasting was like their natural reaction to the trials and difficulties
83 84 85 86
This will be our “occurrence B.” This will be our “occurrence A.” Though he or she should be if their heart was right! 2Chronicles 19:3, 20:3 Psalm 102:4
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We also see this cyclical relationship within the affliction produced by vigilance: a certain type of soul-permeating affliction will keep one from even sleeping; deep affliction causes wakefulness. However, one who is willingly vigilant throughout the night (although not initially afflicted) will enter into the realm of affliction as sleep is intentionally shunned. A fellow teaching associate and friend was once so deeply bothered about a situation at the school he could not even sleep the night before confiding in me of the difficulty. So it was with King Darius who was exceedingly troubled at the plight of Daniel in the den of lions; it is recorded, “he passed the night fasting” … “and his sleep went from him.” Daniel 6:18, Psalm 77:1-4. Affliction leads to vigilance, while vigilance leads to affliction. So the terms used in Scripture to describe events which surround the act of fasting are terms which reveal the unavoidable physical, emotional, and spiritual results in the life of the sincere worshipper so engaged. Not perceiving this, anyone could easily dismiss or spiritualize away terms such as mourn, afflict, humble, heaviness (from lack of sleep and/or energy), and the like. However, it would be a grave mistake to dismiss these many terms as having no tangible substance or relation to fasting. For the benefit of those who already believe Moses and the Prophets,88 this writer submits the above scriptural evidence revealing the numerous key words so clearly and contextually linked to fasting throughout the inspired writings. If studied, the Scriptures given will surely help the open-minded believer to better grasp these concepts and to enter into a closer walk with hwhy. And what of the surprise promised at the outset of our study? At what point did the realization come to our readers that all of what we commonly call “The Beatitudes”89 are, in fact, fasting-related? Each character trait revealed in these Scriptures relates to the lives and hearts of those who seek hwhy by fasting and prayer. The life and words of our Messiah are truly of great splendor, abounding in favor and truth! John 1:14 Who better than the Messiah to
proclaim the fast that hwhy has chosen?! Isaiah 58:6, John 4:25 eswhy was the Living Word and He was the Epitome of all those things which He taught in “The Beatitudes:” He was poor in spirit; He mourned; He was meek; He hungered and thirsted after righteousness; He was merciful; He was pure in heart; He was a peacemaker; He was persecuted for righteousness’ sake; and He was falsely reviled for evils wherein He was not guilty. After His forty-day fast, eswhy the Messiah returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit90 “to loose the bands of wickedness,”91 “to undo the heavy burdens,92 to let the oppressed go free,”93 and to “break every yoke.”94 Isaiah 58:6, Luke 4:18,19 All praise be to the Qadosh Name of hwhy for ever and ever: eswhy the Messiah magnified the Law95 as He both exemplified and proclaimed the fast which hwhy has chosen. How often should one fast? For how long?96 When should assemblies fast corporately? That most have not been doing so is likely one reason the Body of the Messiah exhibits little power when an Infinite Source is available. A better question might be, “Why haven’t, or why aren’t, assemblies fasting corporately?” Only the Spirit can lead individuals and congregations in answering these questions – which, incidentally, are not posed to condemn, or to judge, or to belittle in any way. The intent is to lovingly stir the minds of all believers worldwide that we might see blessings come forth from heaven which are more than the storehouses can contain. These great blessings are not prosperity sought for our own sakes, but they are granted us so all the ends of the earth shall fear the Name of hwhy. Psalm 67:6-7, Malachi 1:11
Luke 16:31, Acts 24:14 Matthew 5:1-12
Luke 4:1-14, 31-32 Luke 4:16-19, 5:12-13, 17-26 92 Luke 13:13-16 93 Luke 4:33-36, 38-41, Acts 10:38 94 eswhy not only broke loose every yoke of physical bondage and infirmity, He was also empowered to break loose every yoke of spiritual bondage, Hebrews 2:14,15, Romans 6:18,22, 8:2, John 8:31-36. 95 Isaiah 42:21 96 Those who have little experience in fasting would do well to obtain the first book recommended at the end of this study. It provides an excellent overview of fasting with sound advice surrounding numerous, physical concerns. - 15 91
Fasting is for those who are not content with the current, spiritual status quo in their own lives or in regard to the current state of things throughout the Kingdom of hwhy. We have not “arrived” because we fast;97 we fast because we have not arrived;98 such was also the case with Shaul, the apostle: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Messiah eswhy my Sovereign, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them as dung that I may win Messiah and be found in Him not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through faith in the Messiah: the righteousness which is of Elohim by faith; that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either already were perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Messiah eswhy. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind 99 and reaching forth to those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of hwhy in Messiah eswhy.” Philippians 3:8-14 The man who wrote these things had forsaken all as he ever clung to the dust100 – the dust to which he would some day return, Job 1:20,21. This being the case, Shaul testified of fasting often, 2Corinthians 6:5, 11:27. The above seeking heart revealed by this portion of the apostle’s letter to the Philippians is certainly definitive proof of a life which was given to fasting and prayer – by which he sought first the Kingdom of hwhy and His righteousness. Matthew 6:33 And Shaul knew, firsthand, the suffering and reproach which those who obtain fasting-derived meekness and humility must surely encounter;101 but he also knew “the power of His resurrection” as he was blessed to heal the sick and to raise the
dead;102 and the light of the Almighty’s word given to the apostle then, is still blessing many today. Isaiah 58:8 The doctrine of positional righteousness in eswhy (left as it is today, standing alone) has produced a multitude of complacent believers who “are at ease in Tziyon” and who seemingly possess no impetus to progress spiritually. Amos 6:1, Revelation 3:15-19 Does the finished work of the Messiah eswhy leave us with absolutely nothing to do on our part? May it never be. The favor of hwhy (provided we have truly received it) teaches us we are to deny worldly lusts and to live soberly and righteously in this present world. Titus 2:11,12 Overcoming in this manner requires that we put forth spiritual effort.103 Just sitting around saying we “believe” is not an expression of true faith:104 belief must lead to action. James 2:14,20,22,24,26 The word of hwhy is clear that He expects His great love to be met by a loving response105 from those who will “[give] all diligence”106 to “work out [their] own salvation with fear and trembling.”107 At this point, those who have remained with us should have little doubt the apostles are here speaking of seeking hwhy via fasting and prayer as we take the yoke of the Messiah upon ourselves.108 We are not talking about salvation by works! We are talking about doing something with the gifts which hwhy has already given us!109 We are talking about not neglecting so great a salvation!110 We are talking about inheriting the promises through faith and patience!111 So few believers are walking in the reality of all that eswhy came to give us. Why is this? They are not actively
Luke 18:9-12 Luke 18:13-14 99 Luke 9:62 100 Genesis 18:27, Job 30:19, 42:6, Psalm 119:25 101 2Corinthians 11:24,25, Philippians 3:10, 2Timothy 3:12
Acts 14:8-11, 20:9-12, 28:7-9 1Corinthians 9:24-27, Philippians 3:7-14, Hebrews 6:12, 12:1-4, 2Peter 1:5-9 104 Amos 6:1, Ezekiel 16:49 105 1Corinthians 5:14,15, 1John 4:10,19 106 2Peter 1:5,10 107 Philippians 2:12 108 Matthew 11:28-30. Note! Yokes were put upon oxen who were about to serve and work! And serve they did: “… even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve … Matthew 20:28, John 21:25 109 Matthew 25:19-23,29 110 Hebrews 2:1-3 111 Hebrews 6:12, Revelation 14:12; it is through patient endurance in well doing that the reward, or inheritance, is obtained! Romans 2:7, James 1:3, Revelation 2:19 - 16 -
taking “the promised land” of “abundant life”112 because, apart from fasting and prayer, they are unarmed with “the weapons of our warfare.”113 And why are most pastors today diluting the message of His word? Because they have not experienced the reality of His word or the power of righteousness, 2Timothy 3:5-7. And why is this? Because they have not sought hwhy in the manner which He expects: without fastingderived humility, we have not prepared our hearts to truly seek hwhy.114 Since many today never get past “square one,” they also never proceed to seek hwhy by keeping His testimonies.115 “Preparing our hearts” to seek hwhy through fasting and prayer is described by Him in the ever-popular, but little understood text of Second Chronicles: If My people, upon whom My Name is called, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2Chronicles 7:14 Note the numerous fasting-related terms in this text: … humble … pray … seek … turn … We must realize that part of what it means to truly forsake all and to follow eswhy means we must take upon ourselves His blessed yoke – the yoke of fasting-derived meekness and humility! If we cannot deny ourselves physical food to seek that food which is spiritual – to seek His eternal paths and to cultivate His meekness and humility – how shall we deny ourselves things greater? Who are we fooling? James 1:22 Shaul wrote elsewhere that the favor of hwhy upon him was not in vain, but that he labored more than all the rest; but he qualified this statement by saying, …“yet not I, but the favor of Elohim which was with me.” 1Corinthians 15:10116 How did Shaul obtain such favor? Because he sought and found it! Genesis 6:8, Hebrews 4:16 This was that “greater favor” of which James
wrote (4:6); this was that special favor which comes upon one as the Spirit’s power works in the heart and mind of the humble, contrite faster. Such favor left no place for Shaul to be at ease in Tziyon as he met the requirement of humility and thus obtained the key for entering into and appropriating all that the finished work of Messiah had already secured for the taking!117 It is through fasting and prayer that we continually ask, seek, and knock;118 and it is only those who do so who shall have opened to them in the heavens a door of vision and prophecy.119 The secret of hwhy is for those who fear Him, Psalm 25:12. He does not impart His counsel to the nominal and uncommitted who do not revere or seek Him. It is only through fasting and prayer that we may begin fully experiencing and walking in the reality of all that we read in the Scriptures! Who initiates a fast: the Spirit or the one fasting? We believe the answer is: both.120 And can a regimen of regular fasting be Spirit-led? Absolutely! Whenever a person fasts out of faith-related motives, it is the Spirit who has led and taught that one and brought him or her to the point of having the desire and/or the urgency to fast regardless of the reason(s). When Daniel understood the prophecies of Jeremiah, he knew the time for Yisrael’s restoration to the Land was at hand. Hence, he set himself to seek hwhy by prayer and fasting, Daniel 9:2,3. While no mention is made of the Spirit’s leading, Daniel was old and wise, and he knew how to respond to what he read on the written page of the Scriptures. He responded with fasting and prayer because the Spirit had already taught him that it is through “faith and patience we inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:11,12 Fasting is the most proper, most effective, and most powerful “first step” of faith we can take over any matter! Daniel’s faith was in the word of hwhy which required His people to humble themselves in the land of their captivity before they could return to the Land. Leviticus 26:40-42, 2Chronicles 6:37,38121 We assert Daniel’s faith initiative
John 10:10 2Corinthians 10:4,5 114 Deuteronomy 5:29, 2Chronicles 12:14, Psalm 78:8,37, Ezekiel 33:31 115 117 Psalm 119:2 Hebrew 6:19,20, Isaiah 5:4, Romans 8:32, 2Peter 1:3 116 118 Among those who walk with eswhy, it is always a Matthew 7:7-8 119 Revelation 3:7-8, 4:1, Proverbs 29:18 given that apart from Him we can do nothing. John 15:5 120 Daniel 9:2,3, 10:12, Luke 4:1, Revelation 11:3 Because he made such a strong statement, Shaul qualified 121 Fasting and prayer are intended to lead the way out of his words with this fact so that he could not be accused of any captivity! Isaiah 58:6 boasting. - 17 -
was absolutely Spirit led. In our day and time, we are surrounded by much evil. We daily encounter many reasons to fast and pray. Hence, each believer must keep the matter of when to fast – along with issues of frequency and duration – before hwhy. Like anything in the spiritual realm, as one grows to better understand fasting through study and experience,122 the understanding/leading of the Spirit will also be given by which one knows when and where to fast and for what reasons. As our understanding grows, we also learn the ways of the Most High are not nearly as complicated as we have imagined them to be. Proverbs 4:18, 2Corinthians 11:3 Fasting is/should be the initial step of faith for any large undertaking. However, fasting with prayer is also the initial step of faith and reverence for anyone who seeks to be wise and to progress over any matter of spiritual concern. Evangelical Christianity, by and large, has no explanation for the many Scriptures which place personal responsibility upon the believer to act so as to inherit the promises. This study asserts those Scriptures which so clearly mention our responsibility are all fulfilled through actively seeking hwhy with fasting and prayer. Fasting with prayer are among the most powerful aspects of True Worship, and hwhy has ordained them to spark and to fuel true faith and loving obedience in the hearts of His people. When we fast and pray,123 we are obeying the mandate given by eswhy to ask, seek, and knock,124 and eswhy is the Author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him! Matthew 7:24,25, Hebrews 5:9 Fasts are initiated for many reasons: • To seek hwhy for special help, guidance and protection, Ezra 8:21, 2Chronicles 20:1-3. • To know Him more fully. Exodus 33:12-18, Psalm 36:9, 119:2,18 Isaiah 58:8,10.
• To “break every yoke” bringing deliverance from bondage to any sin, Isaiah 58:6. • To pray for His work in the life of another. Ephesians 1:15-19, Isaiah 58:8 • To share in the sorrow and affliction of others, Psalm 35:13,14, Isaiah 58:6,7,10, Romans 12:15, 2Corinthians 11:28,29, Hebrews 13:3, 1Peter 5:8,9. • To increase our faith by giving us the humility of a servant, Luke 17:5-10, Philippians 2:3-5. The Messiah, eswhy, taught the lower we humble ourselves, the greater our faith becomes, Matthew 5:3, James 2:5, 4:10. • To seek for physical and spiritual healing, Isaiah 58:8, Matthew 13:15. • To purify and cleanse ourselves for His Presence; to set ourselves apart for His purposes. Exodus 19:10,11,14,15 • To obtain the leading of the Spirit, Isaiah 58:11, Romans 8:14. This leading will sometimes be absolutely miraculous with amazing answers to prayer and unbelievable split-second-timing on the part of hwhy time after time after time. • To forego feeding oneself so as to feed the sheep, Ezekiel 34:1,2, John 21:15-17, Acts 6:14.125 As we grow closer to hwhy, feeding the sheep becomes the overriding factor in all that we do. The apostle Shaul endured all things for the sake of the elect – including fasting-derived afflictions, reproach and suffering, 2Timothy 2:10-12, 2Corinthians 6:5, 11:27. Together with all of the above, fasting will: • Give strength of bones, Psalm 34:17-19, Isaiah 58:11.
It has actually been asserted the apostles were being pompous in their actions to forgo waiting on tables so as give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word! We absolutely and wholeheartedly disagree with such a 122 (i.e., by being a “doer of the word” in relation to man-made theory. The apostles were wisely avoiding food fasting) altogether as they fasted, prayed, and studied the word of 123 Matthew 6:5,6,16-18. We also note eswhy taught of hwhy. Matthew 9:14,15 In stark contrast to the carnal giving alms in the context of prayer and fasting. This was shepherds rebuked by hwhy through Ezekiel of old, the not coincidental since the prophet Isaiah also taught of apostles of the Lamb refused to feed themselves so they giving alms in his discourse on fasting. Isaiah 58:6,7,10 might be rightly empowered to feed the sheep through The Spirit of hwhy calls us to tangibly identify with the fasting-derived meekness and humility coupled with plight of the poor and needy as we become “poor in spirit” submissive, selfless prayer! Ezekiel 34:1,2, John 21:15-17, through fasting and prayer. Matthew 5:3 Acts 20:28, 1Peter 5:1-4, 1Samuel 12:23/Exodus 124 Matthew 7:7,8 28:21,29/Numbers 6:22-27 - 18 -
• Bring forth the power of the Spirit, 2Corinthinas 12:9-10, Revelation 11:3.126 • Bring forth the light of the written Word, Psalm 36:9, Proverbs 4:18, Isaiah 58:8,10, Ephesians 1:16-19, James 4:6. • Result in direct revelation in the Spirit over personal issues127 as we seek and find the favor of hwhy. Ezra 8:21, Matthew 7:7,8 • Melt the heart with tears of joy, gratitude, awe, and contrition. As the Spirit is poured out on our thirsty soul,128 the heart is overwhelmed by the love and kindness of hwhy, see Psalm 136.129 This special anointing of joy, brokenness, and contrition may or may not be the immediate experience of one who fasts on a regular basis, but it will eventually occur should the believer progress. And the key to making true, lasting, and substantive spiritual progress is fastingderived humility and its associates in righteousness: meekness and a broken, contrite heart. Proverbs 15:33 There are no short cuts. hwhy will exalt us commensurate to the depth of humility which His Spirit is able to produce in our lives. Yet He also exalts us to the level at which we pray. A contradiction? Not at all. In the life of one given to seeking hwhy through fasting and prayer, humility is the soil in which
If one compares the ministry of the two witnesses with the ministry of Eliyah, it will be seen they come in “the spirit and power” of that prophet. According to the prophecies of Revelation, this power is associated with their fasting. 127 Isaiah 58:11, Romans 8:14, Daniel 10:1 128 Isaiah 44:3 129 A note regarding fasting and Psalm 136. The Hebrew word for “fast” is “tsome” and its gematria value is 136: 136 = (40) M + (6) w + (90) u = Mwu
faith grows enabling the believer to both ask and think in ways far greater and far higher than they would or could apart from the humility and power of the Spirit thus obtained, Isaiah 55:6-9, Jeremiah 33:3, Ephesians 3:20. And many believers will have to unlearn numerous, false notions which so often vilify true humility as, “pride,” while exalting pride130 as, “humility:” Woe to those that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 Fasting prepares the heart to learn all these things and more as hwhy El Shaddai gives us His strong support.131 His Spirit will most certainly illumine us in this remarkable sojourn. And hwhy speaks this timeless word of power through the prophet and priest, Samuel: … “for those who honor Me, I will honor.”132 1Samuel 2:30 How important is it to honor hwhy by magnifying His great Name? Very! The Hebrew word translated as “honor” in 1Samuel 2:30 is “cabeyd;” its number value is also 26! As already mentioned just above (footnote 129), the number value of the Name of hwhy is also 26: ← ← ←
26 = (4) d + (2) b + (20) k = dbk= cabeyd 26 = (5) h + (6) w + (5) h + (10) y = hwhy= YHWH
← ← ←
This writer does not regard it as coincidence that every verse in Psalm 136 speaks of the lovingkindness of hwhy. Perhaps far more than any other aspect of True Worship, fasting and prayer bring forth the reality of that lovingkindness in and through the life of a believer. Through fasting and prayer, this lovingkindness is revealed in many great and awesome ways. Daniel fasted before hwhy, and he was later hailed by the heavenly messenger as a “man greatly loved.” Through fasting, Daniel set his love upon hwhy, and in return, hwhy set His love upon Daniel. Psalm 91:14-16, Daniel 10:11,19 130 Including false humility. Further, the word “chesed” (translated as “mercy,” 131 th 1Chronicles 16:9 “lovingkindness,” or “kindness”) occurs in the 136 Psalm 132 For other Scriptures on the importance of honoring and exactly 26 times; not only is 26 the gematria value of the loving the Name of hwhy see: Exodus 3:15, 20:7, Psalm Name of hwhy, but “chesed” (or “kindness”) is a key 5:11, 91:14, 69:36, 119:32, Isaiah 42:8, 56:6, Malachi attribute of His character which He declared to Moses 1:6,11, 4:1,2, Zechariah 14:9, Matthew 6:9, Hebrews 6:10, when revealing that great Name to the prophet (see the Revelation 11:18, 14:1-4, 15:4 Hebrew text of Exodus 34:5,6). - 19 -
This great Scripture may well have its ultimate fulfillment in the life of those who dwell “in the secret place of the Most High” with fasting and prayer. As a result, they are those who become poor in spirit; they are those who maintain a broken, contrite heart; they are those who mourn; they are those who obtain meekness; they are those who ever hunger and thirst for righteousness; they are those who are merciful/kind; they are those who become pure in heart; they are those who are peacemakers; and they are those who are subsequently
persecuted and reviled for righteousness’ sake. Fasting-derived meekness and humility bring about all these things as we enter into a realm not only foreign and unknown to carnal man, but blessed and untouchable by the Adversary of our souls133 since he only operates in the realm of pride, self-gain, and all-out opposition to the Law of hwhy. The one who seeks hwhy with fasting-derived humility becomes a doer of the Law134 as he or she produces the fruit of the Spirit increasingly; and not long hence, the pure Spirit of the Creator can manifest the resurrection power of the Messiah Himself. Philippians 3:10, 2Corinthians 12:9,10, 1Peter 4:13,14 But be warned: this power does not come separate from reproach and persecution: one’s heart must be prepared to embrace not only the reproach of one’s family and the unconverted, but even brethren in the faith will mock and abuse; this will be the most hurtful and will cause the greatest suffering, Psalm 55:12-14. However, these things are a small price to pay as, in our spiritual poverty, the power of the Spirit makes many rich. Matthew 5:3, 2Corinthians 6:10 In closing, we once more consider our opening Scripture: The fear of hwhy is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.
exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:14 We live in days of restoration135 and give all praise to hwhy through the One we exalt with absolute preeminence in all things:136 eswhy the Messiah. He alone is “The Repairer of the breach,” and “The Restorer of paths in which to dwell.” Isaiah 58:12 eswhy the Messiah is the One whose life and teachings exemplify for His people in every generation the fast that hwhy has chosen. Isaiah 58:6 Let us follow the Example of the Word made flesh. Hallelu-Yah! His Name is exalted!
t s r q u p e o n m l k y j x z w h d gb a
Personal Copyright 1984 - 2010, by the author.
This article has been reprinted many times since 12/2000. The printing of this updated, edited version was on 11/26/2009.
Those who humble themselves before hwhy with fasting and prayer will surely know the fulfillment of this great proverb. Both now and in the resurrection, hwhy will bestow honor upon those who take no honor to themselves and whose only purpose in life is to bring honor to His great Name. Psalm 115:1,2, Matthew 6:9 We are now more aware when eswhy teaches His followers to humble themselves that His reference is clearly to the importance of fastingderived brokenness and humility! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that
We believe most copyrights have been abused worldwide in religious circles as false shepherds and other merchants feed on the sin of the people. These many abuses have filled the worship house of hwhy with money changers who hinder True Worship by robbing and oppressing the poor. Zechariah 7:10 Many, if not most, have turned reverence and the worship of hwhy into a means of great, personal gain. Micah 3:11, 1Timothy 6:5-10, 1Peter 5:2 We assert such things were never meant to be, Isaiah 55:1,2, Mark 11:15-17. Hence, our copyright is intended to allow for free distribution of the word of hwhy with the following, minimal limitations: This document may be copied and distributed if it is left unaltered and in its entirety and if it is given away at no cost.
Matthew 11:5, Luke 4:19, Galatians 2:10.
James 4:7 1Chronicles 16:9, Psalm 37:31, 40:8, 111:10, 119:2, 98-100, Isaiah 51:7, Jeremiah 31:33, Matthew 5:17-20, John 14:21, 15:10, Romans 2:13, 3:31, 1Corinthians 7:19, 1John 2:4-6, 5:3-5, Revelation 12:17, 14:12, 22:14.
This article may not be included in any publication – religious or otherwise – without the author’s written consent.
Acts 3:21 Colossians 1:18
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For other free documents which are offered to provide encouragement and edification from the word of hwhy, please refer to the following website: http://www.yahuyahweh.org/iah Note: ISRV is an abbreviation/acronym for, “INSTITUTE FOR SCRIPTURE RESEARCH VERSION.” The INSTITUTE FOR SCRIPTURE RESEARCH is an organization of Messianic believers based in South Africa. They have published an excellent version of the word of hwhy which is entitled “The Scriptures.” This present study refers to “The Scriptures” as the ISRV. For those who might be interested in obtaining this version, the Institute’s web address is: http://www.isr-messianic.org/ Recommended Books for Further Study The Miracle of Fasting, by Paul Bragg; gives a fine overview of many practical, physical concerns and principles surrounding fasting; available in many health food stores or by calling 1-800-446-1990. God’s Chosen Fast, by Arthur Wallis; gives an excellent spiritual overview of fasting; published and distributed by the Christian Literature Crusade (CLC) and possibly available in Christian bookstores.
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