LESSON VIII FASTING
In all of the Epistles not one time is the church told to fast. This does not mean that we should not fast. Mention is made of fasting, but no rules are laid down, nor is the church encouraged to fast. The reason is – fasting is to be done as the occasion arises.
Fasting does not change God; He is the same before, during, and after you fast
. But fasting will change you. It will help you keep the flesh under. It will help you become more sensitive to the Spirit of God.
It is good to fast when things are pressing in on you and you need to wait on God prayerfully, or the Lord may speak to you and lead you fast. If the Lord lays a fast on your heart, do it! The longest that you should fast is three days. The Bible list the reasons for fasting: (1) To minister to the Lord; (2) To lay hands on ministers to send them forth; (3) To draw close to God in times of danger. These are scriptural reasons; you don’t need to fast to defeat the devil. Jesus has already won that victory for us.
LESSON IX FASTING: A LOOK AT THE OLD TESTAMENT
Fasting has in all ages and among all nations been as exercise much in use in times of mourning, sorrow, and afflictions. Yet there is no Bible example of fasting to be seen before the time of Moses. Although the Bible does not say so, it is presumed that the patriarchs of old fasted until Moses’ time. It is interesting to notice that Moses enjoined no particular fast in his five books, except upon the solemn Day of Atonement.
In Leviticus 23:37, Moses talks about “afflicting your souls.” In Hebrew this means, “Ye shall humble yourselves deeply before God inwardly by sorrow, and by judging and loathing yourselves; and outwardly by fasting and abstinence from all carnal comforts and delights.” This fast is the only one Moses enjoined, although the Jews did fast at other times for periods of 24 hours; from sundown one day to the sundown of the next day.
Since the time of Moses examples of fasting have been common among the Jews. Most of these however, were from morning until evening; about 12 hours. A mistake many people make in teaching on fasting is picking out isolated portions of Scripture and misconstruing them. Any Bible subject can be pushed out of context and do more harm than good. Some writers leave the impression everyone should go on a 40-day fast. They use the illustration that Moses fasted 40-days on Mount Horeb. But consider this: Moses was in the very presence of God, talking to Him. The Scripture says that God appeared to him. The glory of God was there, and Moses was caught up in it. He could well go without food or water. If you were in the very presence of God you could go without food for 40-days also.
The only one whom the Bible ever said fasted for 40 days was Jesus. In Matthew 4:2 the Bible says: “And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward He was hungered.”
There is a clue here. Matthew 4:1 says He was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
So He was led by the Spirit and ministered to by angels.
How long did Joshua and the leaders lay on their faces in fasting and prayer
Before the Lord in Joshua 7:6?
How long did Moses fast in the presence if the Lord God according to Exodus
Did Elijah really fast for 40 days? 1 Kings 19:7