Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by AllieWi, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. What does the Bible say about fasting? What is the importance of it? Is it part of worship? Is it something to do when you really REALLY want a prayer answered? Because I don't really get why people only sometimes do it.
  2. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    It's interesting that he says, "when you fast," it's almost like He assumes we will do it, or maybe even a commandment.
    AllieWi likes this.
  3. First most of the mentions of fasting in the New Testament are not in the older text (1000 years older) and Isa 58 is the key to understanding what a fast to the Lord is? It is not depriving ourselves of food, it is sharing our food with the hungry that God desires.

    Isa 58:6 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?
    7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and not to hide not thyself from thine own flesh.
    8 ¶ Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

    I used to fast every week for years, God first showed me these scripture clearly say he is not wanting me to hide from my flesh, and he showed me that the word "fast" is not in the text as the KJV uses. Where much of these fasting doctrines come from. The Lord told me one day "fast that TV" if you want to fast?
    AllieWi likes this.
  4. I think fasting is just what Isa 58 says "sharing your bread" etc.. much like many things in the law was a shadow or type of what we have in Christ... circumcision is an example, it looks like one thing in the law, but in the Spirit its a whole different truth.
  5. @Mitspa Can you elaborate a bit more?
  6. I want to be carful because It may be that God would call some to an old testament type of fast? There could be some things that I have not yet understood? I don't want to say that a food fast has no value. But I know for sure that God wanted me to see what He really desires from us is not sacrifice but mercy. That's what Isa 58 is saying. And many of these uses of the word "fast-ing" in the New testament are not in the "much" older text.
  7. I will continue by saying there is a place in Gods Word(bread) that satisfies to the effect that one is so full that food is not even considered. I think like circumcision was one thing according to the law, "cutting away the flesh " physically. the spiritual truth is that it is fulfilled in the Spirit and looks completely different than what the law demanded. I believe fasting is fulfilled in the Spirit in that our "bread" is no longer of this world.
  8. Unger's Bible Dictionary explains that the word fast in the Bible is from the Hebrew word sum, meaning "to cover" the mouth, or from the Greek word nesteuo , meaning "to abstain." For spiritual purposes, it means to go without eating and drinking (Esther:4:16).

    The fast I know of is the type that Christ did (no food and water) But I suppose you could fast from anything. I think the bottom line is, what is a person getting out of the fast. Why should I fast? My experience is that it's a humbling thing. And we know those that are humbled will be lifted up, according to scripture.

    Fasting is the same as exercising. Except instead of exercising the muscles, I am exercising the spirit. When I fast, I don't eat, and when I don't eat, I'm denying the flesh. When I deny the flesh, I allow my spirit to breathe.

    In my humble opinion, one of the best verses to meditate on while fasting is, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

    To me it was like Christ was telling Satan, "I don't need food to survive, the Word of God is enough, I can live off the Word of God."

    That verse alone (matthew 4:4), can create such a hunger in a man, that it would cause him to run into the wilderness for days without food, just to seek the Lord.
    AllieWi likes this.
  9. WITM, I hope you do gain from these fast, I believe that Isa 58 is clearly making the point that God desires mercy and not sacrifice, I believe it also says that this sort of fast "abstaining from food" is not what God really desires and is just hiding from ones own flesh. I also know that the term "nesteuo" is not found in the Older text as in the KJV. I say that if someone feels they should fast, then they should answer to God with their own conscience. I have made my points and they are hard for some to accept I know. But I do think one should really read Isa 58 and hear what God is saying about what brings forth from us the things that God desires?

    Isa 58:4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
    5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
    6 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?
    7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
    8 ¶ Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
    9 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;
    10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
    11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

    To me these scriptures are clear as day... I hope others can see that God desires mercy and not sacrifice.
  10. #10 aha, Mar 26, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
    is the humbling thing the one being addressed (stressed, to make a point) in the rhetorical question in verse 5? I just expanded the chapter quoted by mistpa:

    Isaiah 58
    English Standard Version (ESV)

    True and False Fasting

    58 “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
    lift up your voice like a trumpet;
    declare to my people their transgression,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.

    Yet they seek me daily
    and delight to know my ways,
    as if they were a nation that did righteousness
    and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
    they ask of me righteous judgments;
    they delight to draw near to God.

    ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
    Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
    Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,[a]
    and oppress all your workers.

    Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to hit with a wicked fist.
    Fasting like yours this day
    will not make your voice to be heard on high.

    Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day for a person to humble himself?
    Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
    and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
    Will you call this a fast,
    and a day acceptable to the Lord?

    “Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
    to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?

    Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
    when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

    Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
    your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

    Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
    If you take away the yoke from your midst,
    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

    if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
    then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.

    And the Lord will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
    and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.

    And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
    you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to dwell in.

    “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure[c] on my holy day,
    and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
    if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure,[d] or talking idly;[e]

    then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;[f]
    I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
  11. There is one interesting verse no one has brought up.. So I will :)

    Mark 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

    The disciples were unable to cast demon out.. When they ask Jesus, this was His response.. Some translations (like NIV) leave out fasting.. I don't know why and may be some Bible experts can comment on that! This is from good old KJV

    Why would Jesus include fasting in this context? I take the purpose of fasting in this way.. It is really taking our focus off the world and directing it towards the Lord.. That is the purpose of fasting.. Fasting - Uninterrupted focus on Jesus Christ.. Jesus fasted for 40 days before being tempted by satan.. He was all alone.. Why fasting was required?

    I don't know if we should derive the purpose of fasting from Isaiah 58.. There the context is not about purpose of fasting.. But Lord is telling them that they need to be right on basic things before their prayers and petitions could be heard.. If they are going to oppress their workers and do evil for them, fasting is of no purpose.. They should share their food with hungry people and only then their fasting will make sense..

    On a personal note.. I fast once a month along with my wife.. We fast on first weekend of every month.. We skip breakfast and have a late lunch on first Saturday.. We spend time in praise & worship, prayer and Bible study.. As we skip food, it gives us that uninterrupted window to be in presence of Lord.. And that I believe is why fasting is not needed.. I don't believe through fasting we can achieve anything greater.. But through fasting, the Lord can change us in greater ways
  12. Well Rav, I sincerely believe that the text that is 1000 years older than this reading is the truth of Gods Word. The older text do not have this word, and the Lord Himself said only a few chapters before that His disciples could not fast while He was with them.
  13. I would also point out that there are "two" fast represented in Isa 58, clearly there is a "fast" from food and a "fast" where we give and share with those in need. That understanding alone might help one understand what the Lord might have been speaking of as it relates to the church? No doubt He said when He departed that they would fast... The Lord is very wise and often spoke in parables and in mystery...which biblical fast was He speaking of? I think it was the sharing of our bread.
  14. Sorry Mitspa.. Did not quite understand :) Are you saying the original manuscript does not talk about fasting? Not sure if I understand about that 1000 years correctly.. Are you comparing Isaiah and Mark? Or you are just talking about different manuscripts?
  15. your reading was from the TR text, the word "fast" is not in the older text that are 1000 years older. My point being that one should consider that this is not the intended reading of that passage? Also in the same book of Mark a few chapters before the Lord said His disciples could not fast while He was with them... thus adding strength to the older reading as being the correct reading in my view.
  16. (Hey Allie :)) I can't say I have fasted all that often but there are days I haven't eaten any food without realizing it. (I always take fluid though). When I have fasted, I ate bread (toast) sparingly, with water to "purify" myself the better to listen to God. It is recommended for (RCC) excorcists prior to confronting evil. I like Rav's practice as he posted. Sometimes when you deny yourself, all you can think of is that which you put aside and I don't think God wants that either.
    AllieWi likes this.
  17. Yes. Like it's expected. Makes me want to do it! Where-Bear, how often do you fast? Will you share with us your experience?
  18. Interesting. I will check out Isaiah 58. I do believe that people have benefitted in their spiritual condition by fasting. Also Daniel fasted while he did his long prayer...
  19. Oh I missed this post, sorry. Mitspa, I love what you are saying about mercy. I guess it can be both sacrifice and mercy..maybe in different situations.
    Ps- your humility is truly refreshing friend <3
  20. I have completed two 7 day water and juice fasts, no solid foods. I fast one day a week from sun up to sun down. I did a lot of research first. has helpful advice. For me, it simply brought me closer to God. I vacation time for both of the seven day fasts, something I recommend if you feel led to go on a fast. I was reading "Burn Your Plow", I forget the author. In one chapter he got off topic and was telling his friend about fasting. That got me interested. I researched and prayed about it. I felt led by the Holy Spirit to do it. With His help, I did it. I was cleansed, mind, body, and spirit. The experiences are too lengthy to post hear. You will not be disappointed if you feel led to.
    AllieWi and Silk say Amen and like this.

Share This Page