I had no idea what God was wanting to show me. But I have prayed that during this fast I wanted to go even deeper with God and to have Him download to me specific things I need to see and so far He has been faithful.
As I read the verses this subtitle in the Message translation sparked my interest –
Your prayers won’t get off the ground
Of course I wanted to check out what can keep my prayers from getting off the ground. Nobody ever wants that-so I did some more studying and unpacking
The bible verse was Isaiah 58:4
The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.
Uh oh – Now you got my attention Lord….
And in the commentary another subtitle read:
Precious promises made to those who fast
Now this really caught my eye -we are on to something God, this must be what You want to show and teach me today.
I am ready for some precious promises and need to know what kind of fast DOES get my prayers off the ground, so I continued to read and this was yet another subtitle section that caught my attention…..
A counterfeit and a true fast
Hmmm- well, I am all about the real so please show me the true vs the counterfeit God.
Especially since what landed me in this season of fasting was because I was turning to too many counterfeit comforts instead of to You.
So I kept reading….and boy oh boy did I unpack some “Good Stuff” here:
I have highlighted the sections that got me from the commentary:
A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions.
To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God’s house, are harsh at home, and harass their families. But no man’s faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighborhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit. ~Isaiah 58:3-12 Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
WOW! Mind blown- still processing, but as I sat pondering all this, I kept returning to the last section….
Duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind.
Confession time- I had threatened to go on strike and make my family fend for themselves during my fast. I wanted to hide out from the world while I did it too! Now God was saying- Nope that is not fasting-you got to keep serving to be refreshed.
I want to be refreshed during this fast and I don’t want to harass or be harsh, and I definitely want to put away this sin of idolatry to food so it is time to get to work and wash the ashes off my face and take off my sackcloth (my nightgown in my case) and get back to encouraging and serving others instead of mourning and being in self-pity over the loss of some sugar or Cheetos or cheese or what every else God is needing me to put away to truly get my prayers off the ground.
I hope this helps you as much as it helped me! You can read the full promises in Isaiah below with what kind of fast God is looking for.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
XXOO Michelle Bollom
1-3 “Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout! Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins! They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people— law-abiding, God-honoring. They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having me on their side. But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’
“Well, here’s why:
“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’