Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.
Most Christians would consider biblical fasting a very unpleasant undertaking. Considering the complexities of the affliction offered by fasting might better help to understand its value. In our passage, the people of God determined to fast so that they might afflict themselves before the Lord. Several other passages discuss this affliction in even more detail. Isaiah 58:3 and 5 describes the affliction as not merely an affliction of the flesh, but also an affliction of the soul. Additionally, we learn that fasting humbles (Psalm 35:13) and chastens (Psalm 69:10) the soul. Fasting involves much more than merely opposition to one’s flesh. Fasting directly afflicts, chastens, and humbles the soul. Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to fast and so beneficial to do so.
- (For children):The Devil tested Jesus most when He was in the middle of a long fast. Afterward, Jesus was hungry and the Devil tried three more times to get Him to do wrong (Luke 4:1-2). Fasting is not pleasant, and the Devil does not want us to fast because it brings us closer to God.
- (For everyone):If fasting is so important, why do so few Christians fast? Is it possible that the Devil and our flesh oppose it because of its worth and value in the work of God?
- With all of the evidence presented, do you still find yourself offering “reasons” as to why you cannot fast? What do you think is the real root of the problem?
- Ask the Lord to show you the spiritual benefits of fasting.
- Ask God to give you the necessary faith to obey Him in fasting.
Quotes from the next volume
(VOLUME 3, WEEK 12)
Subject: Contention (con’t)
In a world filled with competition and pride, it seems as though the peacemaker is such because he cannot handle the fight. Once again, it becomes painfully obvious that God and man are complete opposites.
In the Christian warfare, there are times where strife is both necessary and right. There are things for which preachers, teachers, moms and dads, and young people need to take a stand even if taking a stand brings about conflict.