Within the pages of the Bible, we learn about Biblical fasting and what the acceptable fast is to the LORD. Jesus also teaches us about the two great commandments. We are to love the LORD God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves. According to the Word, these two principles go hand in hand.
In Matthew 12, there is a question from the Messiah: “Who is my mother? And who are my brethren?” The answer is like what the Bible teaches us about fasting. “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Many of us, while reading the Bible, take at face value what others are teaching us without seeking the answers for ourselves. So, what does the Word of GOD actually say about fasting? The answer is in Isaiah 58, and there is no room for debate once you have read it. The LORD is telling us exactly what the acceptable fast is.
It begins as such, “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?” – Isaiah 58:3-5. We are being asked by the LORD, the same things that we are being taught by those around us. Is this what fasting means in the Bible? Is this a Biblical fast?
Starting in verse 6 of Isaiah 58, the LORD clarifies what we are supposed to be doing. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” That doesn’t sound like anything I have been taught. How about you? And, if those who are teaching us are wrong about something that we assume is very simple to understand, what else could they all be wrong about? The answer is pretty much everything. Because the LORD finishes with His promise to us, once we begin following these commandments.
“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” – Isaiah 58:8-11. Knowing the Bible is the only truth, reading what we just did, if you aren’t doing these things, is the LORD even hearing us? Is He answering us when we go to Him in prayer? Are we being guided by Him? Then there is a very good possibility that the glory of the LORD will not be our rereward.
What is a rereward? Is it something that we once had and lost? How can it be a re-reward? What about the Parable of the Prodigal Son? Are there similarities that we can extract from this? Why does the LORD God say that He is the Beginning and the End? Are you starting to make the connections? How can we find that which was lost, if we didn’t have it to “begin” with? The bottom line is that Biblical fasting is exactly the same as the two great commandments. If we aren’t loving our neighbor as ourselves, we have absolutely no “claim” to anything.
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:19-20.
Jonathan Heller – Lift Up A Banner