“Then the king went to his palace and passed the night fasting, neither were instruments or music or dancing girls brought before him. and his sleep fled from him.” Daniel 6:18 Amplified
We’ve been reading on fasting and so far all the scriptures have talked about the righteous people of God fasting. In todays verse we have a pagan king fasting. That tells me 2 things, unbelievers fasted and he thought it would help.
Now for the rest of the story. In case you don’t know what’s going on in the sixth chapter of Daniel, this is the famous story of Daniel in the lions den. As you may recall Daniel was set up by some jealous men in the kingdom because King Darius had put Daniel over all of them. The only one over Daniel was the king himself. Once the king realized it was a set up he wanted to help Daniel, but if he did he would violate his own law. So, here goes Daniel into the lions den and that night brings us to the verse we have today.
Not only did the king abstain from food, but he also abstained from everything else he would normally do, even sleep. It doesn’t say that he prayed to God, but we know the end of the story. God saved Daniel and the bad guys got thrown in to the lions den.
The best part of this is that King Darius decreed that “in all my royal dominion men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God, enduring and steadfast forever, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even to the end of the world!”
Daniel is a great example for us, his life caused this king to believe. Our lives should affect the people around us in the same way.
“Therefore you go and on a day of fasting, in the hearing of all the people in the Lord’s house, you shall read the words of the Lord which you have written on the scroll at my dictation. Also you shall read them in the hearing of all who come out of the cities of Judah.” Jeremiah 36:6
Do you every write scripture down? I see scripture verses posted on Facebook and love to share them. Maybe you read your bible, but do you ever write scripture verses down?
There is something powerful about the Word of God. In John it says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God Himself.” The bible is a living, breathing, being, infusing us with power and strength.
Maybe during this time of lent, when we read God’s Word and fast, we take some time to write down some scripture verses to strengthen us. If you go without a meal then read over the verses you have written down. Jesus quoted scripture when He said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Be fed by the Word.
“Though they fast, I will not hear their cry; and though they offer burnt offering and cereal offering without heartfelt surrender to Me or by offering it too late I will not accept them, but I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.” Jeremiah 14:12
Fasting is a good thing and helps us draw closer to God, but it must be with heartfelt surrender and not out of duty or ritual. When we seek to please God it must always be done with heartfelt surrender. God loves a humble heart.
You may be able to fool people because they can’t see your heart or know your true attitude, but God knows.
Three things God requires – Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with Him. (Micah 6:8)
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen; to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every enslaving yoke?” Isaiah 58:3
Fasting is not all about not eating something or not doing something. In this verse today the Lord, through Isaiah, is saying the fast He has chosen is to do something, to help others. By helping others we humble ourselves before Him, as Jesus humbled Himself enough to die on the cross for our sins.
Look for ways around you that you can help others as part of your fast.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?” Esther 4:14 Amplified
The verse today is from the book of Esther, the book isn’t very long and it tells an interesting story. In short, Esther is brought to the king to become his new queen. The Jews are living in the land along with all the other people and the king isn’t aware that Esther is Jewish. Her uncle, Mordecai, who’d raised her, was in the palace and had thwarted an assasination attempt on the king. Now one of the kings leaders, Haman, disliked Mordecai so he decided he was going to get the king to order all the jews destroyed. Once Mordecai got wind of Haman’s plan he went to Esther for her help. That brings us to the verse today. Esther explained to Mordecai that if the king didn’t call her into his court she couldn’t speak to him or she’d be killed. Mordecai basically told her, if she didn’t speak to the king to try and save her people she was going to be killed anyway. He told her that her becoming queen was more than likely for this exact situation and it was up to her to save her people. She realized her role, called a fast for three days, and agreed to go to the king.
One of the interesting facts about the book of Esther is that God is never mentioned, it’s the only book in the bible with that distinction.
So what’s our role as christians today in our world. Were we born for such a time as this? What’s God calling you to do today to protect His chosen people – believers? We can sit afraid, like Esther did, but I believe God’s looking for people who will take a stand for Him in our culture today. I am seeking Him to find out specifically what He wants me to do. This time of lent when we’re fasting and seeking Him, let’s also ask Him what He wants us to do.
Oh by the way, Esther was called into the kings court and was able to save her people. We can do the same thing.
“For I was ashamed to request of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy along the way, because we had told the king, the hand of our God is upon all them for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” Ezra 8:22
I discovered today’s verse while in search of scriptues regarding fasting, verse 21 discusses that, but I was intrigued by this verse because it says Ezra was ashamed.
As a little back story, the Jews had been in captivity in Babylon for 70 years. King Cyrus had decided to free them and let them go back to Jerusalem. In this verse Ezra states that he was ashamed to ask the king for protection on that journey. He said that because he had told the king that God would protect them, but why was he ashamed? Shame is generally associated with something you are embarrased about.
In praying and meditating over this it seems to me that Ezra is not saying he was ashamed before Cyrus, but he was ashamed before God. This showed his humanity, he thought about the earthly protection needed when he had the Creator of the universe watching over them. Don’t I do the same thing?
I should be ashamed when I think of how to handle all these earthly things that entangle me, like finances, health, relationships and all other things that cross my path. We are all on a journey every day through this life and for believers we have the Creator of the universe on our side.
Verse 31 states – “The hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the enemy and those who lay in wait by the way.” Praise God He protected them and He will do the same for us.
“He said, hearken all Judah, you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat, the Lord says this to you; be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15
When I read the bible I put myself in the place of whoever it is talking about. In this verse I would read it “He said listen (my name), the Lord says to you, don’t be afraid or dismayed at this great problem, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Now read it again and put your name in it. Doesn’t that feel great! That really makes you feel like God is standing behind you, next to you and in front of you.
In continuing my study on fasting this verse comes from the story in chapter 20. It tells about the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites coming against Jehoshaphat the king of Israel. You have “ites” in your life too and so do I. The financial”ites”, the sickness”ites”, the relationship”ites”. The “ites” are whatever is coming against you.
The first thing Jehoshaphat does is turn to the Lord and proclaim a fast. So if you are constantly plagued by the “ites” then seek the Lord and fast. He also had the singers singing praise to the Lord and he encouraged the people by what God had done for them before. Has God taken care of you before? Then sing praises about that and believe He will do it again.
In verse 22 of this chapter it says “when they began to sing and to praise the Lord, He set an ambushment out for their enemies and they were self slaughtered.” The “ites” destroyed one another!
Take your position, stand still, and see the deliverence of the Lord Who is with you!