One of my favourite characters in the bible has always been Daniel. I just love his devotion to the Lord and how he determined to set his heart to be faithful to God, despite his adverse circumstances as a young man in captivity in Babylon. His diet, which is explained in the opening chapter of his book, is often referred to as a Daniel fast, for obvious reasons, and has often been used by those desiring to chasten themselves before the Lord.
There are several kinds of fasts from which to choose, but whichever one we do choose, as the Holy Spirit leads, it’s important to remember that Jesus says, ‘when you fast’ (Matthew 6:16-17). In other words, it’s a requirement in our Christian walk, and He also examines the reasons why we fast. The right kind of fast draws us closer to the Lord and defeats the plans and strategies of the enemy in the lives of God’s people, as in the book of Esther. But fasting with the wrong motives can nullify our fast in the eyes of the Lord. In Isaiah 58, the Lord chastens those who fast for the wrong reasons and then unveils the kind of fast which pleases Him.
This particular fast that God has chosen is not just for oneself, but it focusses on helping those who are imprisoned by the devil. The enemy comes to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ and people are taken captive by him at his will. But Jesus came that we might have abundant life and sets the captive free, and it was for this reason that Jesus was made manifest ‘that He might destroy the works of the devil’ (1 John 3:8).
Maybe you struggle with fasting, but this is a major key that Jesus wants us to use, to develop hearts of compassion to help those who are in need. There are many people who come to Jesus at Ellel Ministries centres, when they realise their lives have been blighted by the enemy. They then discover that forgiveness is a master key to freedom, and where the wound is particularly deep, He gently helps them to get to the point where they choose to forgive. This is often a crucial step to healing. We can also point them to repentance where personal sin is involved, as God loves the penitent heart and will remove the burdens which are too heavy to bear. These are all major keys in leading a person to freedom.
God’s heart of compassion for the hurting is displayed through today’s scripture and He invites us to take part in this fast for His glory. If we desire to please Him, He is showing us the way, His way, which is to bring the freedom which is His hallmark. ‘The Lord looseth the prisoners’ (Psalm 146:7), ‘And where the spirit the Lord is there is liberty’ (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for teaching me Your ways. Help me to walk aright and to help others to come into the freedom that You purchased for them on the cross of Calvary. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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