Open Heavens Daily Devotional – Fasting Or Starving? (Saturday 23rd March 2019)
Memorize: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” – Psalm 37:25
Read: Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
There is a clear-cut difference between fasting and starving, just as there is between trekking and strolling. For instance, it is good if one chooses to stroll in order to keep fit, but it is undesirable to have to trek for lack of better means of transportation. One day, as I was taking my usual prayer-walk, one of my children drove by and offered to give me a lift in his car. I told him I was strolling and not trekking. In the same way, while it is good to fast, it is no one’s wish to starve as a result of poverty or famine. My prayer for you today is that if you ever go hungry, it will be because you are undertaking an enjoyable spiritual exercise of your own choosing. In other words, you will not fast compulsorily or because you lack what to eat irrespective of your current situation, this will come true because God’s word has declared it in today’s memory verse. Nevertheless, there is a fundamental truth in this scripture that you must embrace if you want to engage in faith and not self-deceit. The declaration in that verse only applies to the righteous. Are you righteous, and are you living a righteous life?
The promise of God is not just that we will be fed, but that we will be fed even in the time of famine. He said in Psalm 37:19:
“They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”
Today’s Bible reading further reveals to us how to make this promise a reality in our lives. The secret is to choose the Lord as our Shepherd. When the Lord is your Shepherd, you will have all that you need. There are lots of things the Good Shepherd does for His sheep, and first of these is that He leads them to green pastures and to still, untroubled waters. He also restores or reinvigorates their souls when they are tired. To sustain these benefits, the Good Shepherd also leads His sheep on the path of righteousness that only He knows, because sin destroys relationships (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Some people only engage in emergency fasting. In other words, they only fast when they are in trouble. More often than not, such troubles are the result of them engaging in their own lust (James 1:13-15) to worsen the situation, their emergency fast is not accompanied with repentance. Such people are just out to use God, and they are starving and not fasting. A godly and acceptable fast produces results that bring comfort, restoration and revitalization to the body, soul and spirit, like it did in Nineveh (Jonah 3:6-10). Our Lord Jesus Christ recommended fasting as a means for us to experience the supernatural (Matthew 17:21). From today, I encourage you to begin to engage in fasts that are acceptable in the sight of God.
Father, grant me the grace to fast voluntarily as a spiritual duty in seeking Your face in worship and supplication. Never allow me to starve in Jesus’ Name.
Bible in One Year
Sing Hymn 1
AUTHOR: PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE