Fasting is not about food; it is about separation.
This separation represents a consecration to the Lord, a change in our relationship with Him. God posed this question to Israel:
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed…Then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well- watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the Repairers of the Breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
The Israelites’ fast had been reduced to religious motions and the denial of food. God was saying that they had reduced it to a one-day happening; they had lost the substance behind the fast. They had lost contact with God’s heart on the matter. God imparts His outlook by outlining the fast that pleases Him.
The fast God chooses loosens chains, unties cords, sets free, breaks every yoke, puts you in a position to share and provide for others, and turns your heart toward the needs of your own flesh and blood. God did not want a single day set aside occasionally to honor Him. He wanted a radical and profound change in lifestyle.
If you aren’t careful, you can fast for the wrong reasons. Fasting without pure intentions can become an idol. You must know why you are fasting. The Israelites were experts in the law but not in love. They turned from the poor and from doing good. God told His people that if they would reach out beyond themselves, everything they had tried to get for themselves would be provided to them. You can dare to reach out beyond yourself because He promises to bring His light to your darkness, to heal you, and to make you righteous. His glory will guard you, and He will answer your prayers and help you in your time of need. He will ultimately restore you to a fully watered garden with a spring whose water never fails (the life source that comes straight from Jesus). It’s when we experience this extravagant touch of the Spirit that we can be ready to be used to restore others across generations and be called Repairers of the Breach!
Think About It
- Meditate on the passage from Isaiah 58. What area(s) of your life is the Lord revealing to you that are in of need some adjustments? Is there anything you need to repent of?
- It’s easy to fill our lives with idols if we’re not careful. Remind yourself that we must know why we are fasting and choose the way of love, not the way of the law.
- The Lord is calling us to be the Repairers of the Breach. What does this mean to you? Ask the Lord to reveal how you can be used as a builder of the spiritual walls that have been torn down or displaced.