I wanted to throw one in today for the Christian and not just the pastor, because we’re going to be on the sermon series for a few more days, and I don’t want you feeling left out!
Fasting. If you read modern translations, you’ll see that there’s not a lot of emphasis on it. But if you’ve become King James Only, you’re suddenly aware fasting is mentioned a lot more in the King James. Why, it’s almost like it was removed from the modern versions!!!
Well, yes, it was.
Fasting. Most of us just don’t do it. But the Bible says, “WHEN ye fast…”
Biblically, fasting is no food or water for the period you’re fasting. Not many people can do that for very long. On Yom Kippur, you go without food, drink or even bathing for 24 hours.
When a church calls for a three day fast… they’d better specify what the fast entails. Otherwise, you’re not truly fasting.
“We’ll fast from food for 3 days.” That’s fine. You’re being specific.
“We’ll fast biblically for 40 days.” Yeah, uh… most of you will die. The human body can last an average of 3 days without water, and then death usually sets in.
“Eat one meal a day.” That’s not really a fast, but, sure, okay.
“No food, but milkshakes allowed.” That’s not a fast, it’s hypocrisy and… yummy.
Rally, if a congregation wants to call for a fast, it should be for 24 hours. And there should be cautions. If your health allows you. A sunup to sundown fast is also acceptable.
In most cases, fasting should be determined by the individual.
How long do I want to fast?
What is the purpose?
Will it be a Biblical fast, or am I fasting from food alone? It’s perfectly okay to say “food alone”! If you’ve never done Yom kippur, you have no idea what it’s like to go without fluids for 24 hours. It’s harder for Europeans than for Americans, because most Americans have conditioned themselves to existing in a state of dehydration and don’t even know it! The first couple of hours aren’t too bad.
By bedtime, you’re really parched.
When you wake up in the morning, the headache has set in.
By ten AM, it’s worse.
By 1 PM, it’s throbbing.
By 3 pm, you’re starting to feel really run down. You have little in the way of energy. I witnessed someone at my synagogue have back spasms brought on by dehydration during yom Kippur.
By sundown, you feel as if you’ve been put through the wringer. You’re heavy, extremely tired, and the headache is consuming you. That first drink of water after the fast is like the most unbelievable luxury in the world. It takes several glasses of water – drink slowly – to get rid of the headache. Sip at it, don’t chug the water. You can get very painful stomach cramps from drinking the water too fast after the fast, and end up vomiting, which will dehydrate you further. Eat LIGHT foods at first, give it a bit, and then you can eat. most Jewish households serve a soup at the meal after Yom Kippur, which accomplishes two purposes – rehydrating, and getting food energy into your body.
Fasting accompanies prayer. Common conventional teaching tells us fasting is to afflict the body, and release it;s hold on your soul and spirit.
The Bible really doesn’t teach that. It sounds good, and it might be true. But the Bible doesn’t say that. it really doesn’t go into why! In the OT, it reflects mourning, seeking God’s mercy.
Fasting must be done within the context of the joyful thanksgiving of the new life in Christ.
Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 781.