I've been listening to an audio-book on fasting in my car lately while driving to and from work. While the author had some good points about God being the rewarder of those who are diligently seeking Him, I'm not quite sure he was hitting the nail on the head when he claimed that God has all these great things He wants to do for us, but we're hindering Him by not fasting.
Maybe it's my reticular activating system, but the subject of fasting keeps popping up in the randomest places, and last night, the speaker at a seminar cited Isaiah 58 as a support of fasting.
So this morning, finding a few extra minutes, I decided to check it out - to see what the hype is all about.
"You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
But this is the kind of fast that I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.
To share your food with the hungry and provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe them and not turn away from your own flesh and blood.
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard."
This is where it's at, folks. God doesn't want us to refrain from eating and drinking, necessarily. He wants our hearts to be turned toward Him to the extent that we want what He wants. He wants us to pursue justice and mercy, to be His hands and feet, dealing out compassion and love. That's the act of commitment and dedication he wants to see.
"Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say, 'Here am I'."
P.S. I do believe fasting is beneficial in many areas, and don't throw out the concept at all - but I also believe that God would rather our hearts than our hunger. (Or something like that)