Monday: Feasting Turns to Fasting
Text: On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. (Neh. 1:1)
Teach: Fasting isn’t an easy topic to address with people, primarily because we don’t like to go without. But fasting also presupposes the awareness of need or sin, something isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Here in Nehemiah, the people had been listening to and convicted by God’s plan and purpose as lined out in the Law.
Take: Jesus speaks about fasting in the Sermon on the Mount: 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 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 (Matthew 6:16-18). Did you catch the implication? He isn’t commanding fast, he’s not even suggesting it, he’s assuming we will.
Task: Can you think of time when you don’t have or know of a spiritual need? Me either. Pray with me today and ask that God would enlighten us on when and how we should fast.