The Daily Fountain Daily Devotional of the Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) 28 August 2020 – The Efficacy Of True Fasting
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TOPIC: The Efficacy Of True Fasting
Read: Zechariah 7:1-14 (NKJV)
- Now in the fourth year of King Darius it came to pass [that] the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, on the fourth day of the ninth month, Chislev,
- when [the people] sent Sherezer, with Regem-Melech and his men, [to] the house of God, to pray before the LORD,
- [and] to ask the priests who [were] in the house of the LORD of hosts, and the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?”
- Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying,
- “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh [months] during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me — for Me?
- ‘When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink [for yourselves?]
- ‘[Should you] not [have obeyed] the words which the LORD proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?’ “
- Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying,
- “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother.
- Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.’
- “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear.
- “Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.
- “Therefore it happened, [that] just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the LORD of hosts.
- “But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate.”
A delegation from Bethel came to Jerusalem to entreat the Lord and ask whether they should continue mourning and fasting in the fifth month when the temple was almost completed. This was because the people had established fasting to commemorate certain events in their national life when they were in captivity. This had been going on for some seventy years. But according to the response from God to them, their fasting had been devoid of any efficacy and the blessing of God because they were not obedient to His word (vs. 5-12).
Beloved, fasting without true repentance and readiness to obey God’s word amounts to exercise in futility. It is simply “hunger strike.” Fasting without praying also amounts to mere skipping of meals. God told them, as He tells us today, that fasting and prayer can onlybe effective before Him when we: (i) obey Him with all our heart, (ii) care for the needy and the vulnerable in the society (iii) do things the right way(righteous living, not cutting corners by taking undue advantage of others, as simple as jumping queues), and, (iv) stop planning evil against others (vs. 9-10,12; Is. 58; James5:16-17).
PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to live right according to Your word so that my prayer, fasting and service may be effective, in Jesus’ name.