[ Preached by Pastor Kenneth Chin at Acts Church Malaysia on 22 March 2020 ]
This message was pre-recorded as an online worship service during the Movement Control Order issued by the government to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
Read | Isaiah 58:3-11
Isaiah 58 explores a fasting that pleases God and how it benefits us. So why should we fast?
I fast because I’m hungry
When we’re hungry, we eat. But in the scripture, it says otherwise – when we’re hungry, we fast.
It’s not just a hunger of the physical, it’s the hunger for the spiritual. It’s a hunger for God to move that exceeds our hunger to eat or to do anything else that we normally find pleasure in.
Are we hungry for a breakthrough? How desperate are we for the things we’re praying for?
I fast for change
Isaiah 58 talks about taking away the yoke of oppression and feeding the poor.
It speaks about the change of life, not just the change of diet. Before any change can happen externally, it needs to happen within ourselves first – which is a change in behaviour, thinking, and mindset.
Have our words been oppressive lately? Have our actions been causing others grief? Maybe the fast we need to take is a fast of these behaviours.
Choose to be kind instead. Choose to live out acts of love, mercy, kindness, and compassion. Acts that set people free from oppression and feed the poor.
God allows disruptions to happen in our lives so that we can come out changed for the better. Fasting is a form of disruption, a good interruption in the routines of our lives.
If we were to come out of the fast the same, wouldn’t we have wasted the fast? Let us fast for change, allowing it to add value to our lives.
Read | Joel 2:12-14
When we fast, we’re allowing ourselves an opportunity to turn to the Lord. When we rend our hearts and return to the Lord, He will turn to us and bless us.
I fast to please God
This is the most important point of all three. When we fast, it shouldn’t be a fast that we have chosen, but a fast that God has chosen.
When you read the heading of Isaiah 58, it says, “Fasting that Pleases God.” Fasting is not about twisting God’s arm. It’s not a spiritual manipulation.
Fasting is about pleasing Him. When we fast for God, we are telling God that He has our full attention. We’re telling Him that we are putting our favourites aside to focus on Him, and that pleases Him.
When we really please God in our fast and in our prayer, His power flows freely. And when His power flows freely, breakthroughs happen.
Read | Isaiah 58:8
Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
When you look at the armor of God as mentioned in Ephesians 6:10-20 – the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, shield of faith, sword of the Spirit, the helmet of salvation and the shoes of the Gospel of peace –you’ll realise that there’s not a piece for the back.
When we’re fighting against forces we cannot see, the most vulnerable part of our body is our back, but our back is open and exposed. Isaiah 58:8 promises us that when we fast in a way that pleases God, “the glory of the Lord shall be our rear guard.”
When we fast to please Him, our God then has got our backs covered.
Written by Steven Soon
Edited by Hailey Chung