Isaiah 58: God’s Manual For Fasting

23B16148-B159-412E-8E6A-3E3E72D7B22A_4_5005_cWant to see the power of God in your life, in your home? Need to break old habits, sin you cannot overcome, gain understanding in a situation that has eluded you, and much more? Fast. Start with one meal a week, and work your way up as the Spirit leads.

When we fast, we turn His spiritual strength in our lives to full power. 

Jesus told the disciples some evil cannot be conquered apart from fasting (Mark 9:29). And, Isaiah 58 very specifically reveals the meaning and rewards of fasting:

The time without eating (fasting) is a time to take off the chains of wickedness, and to take the heavy load of sin off the neck. It is a time to let those who suffer under a sinful power go free, and to break off what restrains them.

It is a time to share your food with the hungry, to meet the needs of the poor and don’t remove yourself from the needs of your own household.

Then your light will break out like the early morning, and you will soon be healed. Your right and good works will go before you. And the shining-greatness of the Lord will keep watch behind you.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer. You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take the weight of sin away, and stop putting the blame on others and stop speaking idol words, 

10 and if you give what you have to the hungry, and fill the needs of those who suffer, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your darkness will be like the brightest time of day. 

11 The Lord will always lead you. He will meet the needs of your soul in the dry times and give strength to your body. You will be like a garden that has enough water, like a well of water that never dries up.

Isaiah 58:6-8 (New Life Version) – some parts paraphrased

In previous verses in Isaiah 58, in fact, the Lord challenged the people by saying, do you think I WANT you in sackcloth and ashes, afflicting yourself while fasting? Then, as seen above, He told them a better way: take care of your family, be charitable, give your food to the poor while fasting. Do not look or act to the world like you are fasting! That means sackcloth, ashes, and personal affliction are NOT what God wanted. He wanted discipline mixed with grace and kindness. In other words, He wanted us to demonstrate HIS character.