Esther - Seeking God Through Fasting
Selections from Esther 4
Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther... If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will arise for the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father's house will be destroyed. Who knows, but that you have attained your royal position for such a time as this? Esther told the messenger to reply to Mordecai, Go, assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast on my behalf. Don't eat or drink for three days, night and day. I and my maidservants will also fast in the same way. Having done this, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.
A nation is on the brink of extinction. Every avenue has been tried, every appeal squashed. Now it's down to one woman with the longest of long shots in front of her. If there's to be any hope, if there's to be any chance, the people must fast. And pray.
Our lives have become so noisy and complicated that it's hard to keep our minds on one thought for very long. That's why many times when we sit down to pray, we can look up ten minutes later only to find that we've mostly been thinking about the movie we watched on TV last night or how we're going to get to the cleaners this afternoon before they close. One of the benefits of fasting is to clear our head, free up our time, and get our spirit quiet enough to really talk and really listen to God.
Look At It This Way ...
The discipline of fasting challenges us in an area where our culture is often the most undisciplined. One of the great obsessions of Western culture is eating. Whether for the pure sensual pleasure of the task or as a replacement for the emotional nurture we do not receive, overeating or starving are struggles many women and men face. Fasting challenges us to be disciplined in our eating and drinking.
Traditionally, the fast was implemented to elicit God's support, to change his mind concerning judgment, to understand what is confusing in one's personal circumstances, and to gain wisdom for making decisions. The fast also is used to petition God regarding resolutions for the problems of society and for ways to overcome our own weaknesses. The fast is also adopted to seek forgiveness on behalf of a group or for our nation's behavior. Finally, fasting is to honor and glorify God. It is designed to draw us into knowing God more fully, to learn his ways rather than only petitioning to gain our own way. Esther sought wisdom through active waiting while she fasted and withdrew into solitude. Normajean Hinders
Fasting is one of the forgotten disciplines in many Christians' lives. Yes, you will get hungry. But you may find "food to eat that you don't know about" (John 4:32).
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