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TRUE FASTING PART 1

March 02, 2016

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Shout as loud as you can and don’t stop.
Shout like a trumpet!
Tell the people what they did wrong.
Tell the family of Jacob about their sins.
They still come every day to worship me,
acting as if they want to learn my ways.
They pretend to be a nation that lives right
and obeys the commands of their God.
They ask me to judge them fairly.
They want their God to be near them.
— Isaiah 58:1-2 ERV

Yahweh hasn't veered from the same theme from Isaiah 1, here all the way into chapter 58: you come to worship me, Yahweh says, acting as if you want to learn my ways, but what you are really after is your way, your pleasure, your delight, your opinion about worship, about pastors, about churches, about elders, about fellow parishioners or followers of Jesus.

We want God to judge us fairly, want God to be near us! Here's what Yahweh says next:

They say, “We fast to show honor to you. Why don’t you see us? We starve our bodies to show honor to you. Why don’t you notice us?”

But God says, “You do things to please yourselves on those special days of fasting. And you punish your servants, not your own bodies. You are hungry, but not for food. You are hungry for arguing and fighting, not for bread. You are hungry to hit people with your evil hands. This is not the way to fast if you want your prayers to be heard in heaven! Do you think I want to see people punish their bodies on those days of fasting? Do you think I want people to look sad and bow their heads like dead plants? Do you think I want people to wear mourning clothes and sit in ashes to show their sadness? That is what you do on your days of fasting. Do you think that is what the Lord wants?
— Isaiah 58:3-5 ERV

The resounding answer to the Lord's question is, "NO!" This is not the kind of fast He wants. 

Tomorrow we'll look at the kind of fast Yahweh really wants. Until then, we have some praying to do about these words of God.

PRAYER AND FASTING

By now some of us have fasted a few weeks from something, maybe trivial or maybe something pretty significant. By now we might think our three weeks of fasting is kind of a big deal. Would you show us what you really desire? Show us what true fasting is really all about? Thank you, Yahweh, King of the Armies of Heaven.

GIVING

Have you been collecting anything for the poor from times you've fasted from food or something that costs money? If not, why not start now? Save $8 by skipping Subway and having something simple like a piece of fruit and some nuts for lunch. Take the $8 you save and stash it in your car console until you see a homeless person begging for money with a cardboard sign. Ask no questions, make no judgments, smile, and give the person the money.