So far in our Bible study, we’ve examined:
- A Threefold Cord of Christian Conduct
- The Motives for Fasting
- The Esther Fast
- The Daniel Fast
- The Self-examination Fast
- The Dominion Fast
I also gave you enough information for you to study these fasts on your own:
- The Fast Before Battle
- Fasting to Lift God’s Judgment from One’s Life
- The Fast for Healing
Today, we’re going to examine one last fast that hasn’t been mentioned before. Yet, it drives home a threefold understanding of the results of Godly fasting. We find this fast in 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.
In Getting on the Fast Track—Part 4, you were asked to keep in mind the specific reasons for your fast. If God asked you to list the top three things you want Him to do in your life and family, you should be able to articulate these reasons and keep them before the Throne of Grace during your fast.
In this verse Ezra is proclaiming a called fast for all the Israelites who accompanied him from Babylon to keep three very powerful and specific reasons for the fast before God: “to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” What does this teach us?
First, we fast to seek of God the right way for us. If we truly seek God’s will in our lives, God will reveal the right way to you and help you during the transitions. He’ll give you the wisdom you need to accomplish the challenges He’s set before you. He’ll give you the direction that you need as you seek answers to these or similar questions:
- Should I take that opportunity?
- Should I go for that job?
- Should I go to that college?
- What should I do?
- Should I be this or should I do that?
Before we make any decisions in life, we should determine to fast to seek Him and the right way for our lives.
Second, you should fast for your little ones, your children. In Isaiah 58:6-12, God makes a remarkable statement. For the sake of space, I won’t print the entire portion of Scripture here. You can look that up for yourself. We shall look at three key verses:
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? —Isaiah 58:6, (AV)
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; —Isaiah 58:9, (AV)
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. —Isaiah 58:12, (AV)
When we enter into God’s fast, He promises,
thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations;
- Do you desire to establish a godly heritage for your family?
- Do you have family relationships that need to be restored?
- Are you praying for a lost loved one?
- Do you have children who have walked away from the Lord?
- Are you concerned about the future of your grandchildren?
- Are you praying for the salvation of family members?
God said you will raise up a foundation for many generations when you fast. Ezra fasted and prayed “for our little ones.” Something begins to happen in the homes of people who fast. The house of faith is built and it extends from generation to generation.
Third, we learn from Ezra that we should fast for substance. We fast to petition God about our substance, our resources, and our finances. We affirm to God that He is our Source. We plead with Him to bless us financially and materially.
When we fast, we are seriously seeking God’s face. Fasting disrupts business as usual. Is that what you are looking for? Are you crying out to God to do something in you that He has never done before? Are you tired of business as usual? Then get ready and begin your fast!