April 7, 2024

Fasting in freedom with joy

Passage: Leviticus 23:26-32; Isaiah 58:3-10; Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-17; John 16:20-22
Service Type:

Theme: Jesus Christ has come to cleanse God’s people from their sin; fast in freedom with joy

Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food, typically for one day from sunrise to sunset (Judg 20:26; 1 Sam 14:24; 2 Sam 1:12; 3:35). In Scripture, such fasts are done for both religious and personal/cultural reasons.

In a religious context, fasting served as a demonstration of humility before God (cf. Exo 34:29; 1 Kgs 21:29), and sorrow for sin (cf. 1 Sam 7:6; 2 Sam 12:22). Religious fasts are always coupled with prayers for God's mercy (in the case of sin) or pleas for his help (in times of trouble, cf. Psalm 35:13; 2 Chronicles 20:3). During and after the Exile, special fasts were also observed on the days on which calamities had befallen God's people (cf. Jer 41:1; 52:12).

In a personal/cultural context, fasting was done when mourning the death of a loved one (cf. 2 Sam 1:12), as well as in times of anger and frustration (cf. 1 Sam 1:7; 20:7; 1 Kgs 21:4).