Exodus 17:6 – “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” KJV
I was asked to do a teaching on the rewards of fasting. I can tell you now, I was not thrilled with the topic. Although I have seen some amazing things happen as a result of fasting and praying, lately, I had just lost my focus on this particular discipline.
My husband and I were in a conversation about the diligence of other religious individuals, non-Christian, who fast and pray faithfully, and seemingly without complaint; but I have to admit I had begun to struggle with it. I know the great power that comes with fasting and prayer. But the thrill was gone.
I know in part it is because we fast every year for 21 days in January and I celebrate both my birthday and my anniversary during that time. At first it was not a big deal, but as the years have passed, I had lost my inspiration for fasting and it had become something that I did because I was in leadership. Unless I had a situation that I knew would only change with fasting and prayer. (So all hope and inspiration wasn’t gone!)
Of course, God knows how to hook us up and charge our faith better than man could ever do; and being given this assignment turned out to be my charging station.
What charged my soul was the revelation that “physical obedience brings spiritual release!” Now I didn’t get this on my own. I heard Jentezen Franklin preach on fasting and praying and he mentioned it in his sermon. Then I studied it out and came away from it charged and delivered from the “bah humbug” of fasting and praying.
In the above scripture, Moses was told by God to go to a rock, strike it with the rod, and water would come forth! Moses obeyed and water came forth! Not just a fountain of water but a spring of water that provided water for the people, their animals, cooking, bathing, laundering, and whatever else they needed water for at the time. Now if you don’t agree that was a spiritual release, go and strike a rock and see if you get water!
This situation in the Old Testament was also a type and shadow of a New Testament event. Jesus’ crucifixion. He was struck on the cross and the living water that flows from Calvary today is truly a spiritual release. In Philippians 2:7-9, Paul wrote, “But (He) made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name.” Note: I added the (He) for clarity sake.
Jesus’ act of physical obedience brought spiritual release to mankind; it brought our salvation. But it also caused Him to be highly exalted and given a name that is above every name. That act of obedience changed the course of mankind providing spiritual release even today.
To tie it in to fasting and praying we need to look at Daniel. In Daniel 10 we learn about what we call the “Daniel fast”. Daniel fasted for 21 days, eating nothing pleasant (verse 3). The Hebrew word for pleasant in this verse is “hamad”. In verse 11, the angel calls him “Daniel, a man greatly beloved”. This word beloved in the Hebrew is the same word “hamad” that Daniel used when he said he ate no “pleasant” bread.
His physical obedience of fasting, and we infer praying based on his lifestyle, caused a spiritual release in his life. As he gave up that which was pleasant, he became pleasant to the Heavenly Father. For me, this was a powerful eye opener.
It’s not as if I didn’t know the power of fasting and praying, but for some reason, the reminder, and the way God has it written in His word in Daniel, got my attention pulling me out of the “I don’t like fasting mentality, to the I can’t wait to fast again!” So I did! Of course, in our Bible study I gave other examples, but I had more time then I like to take up in a blog.
Before I close, let me just say that there are countless examples in the word of God of an individual obeying God physically and receiving from God physical and spiritual blessings that only He could bring about. If He did if for them, He will do it for us.
One example in my personal life of fasting and praying, that I didn’t mention in my teaching happened several years ago and I have never forgotten it. As I was seeking the Lord because I just wanted more of Him, He manifested Himself to me. I was asleep and I dreamed. In the dream I was worshipping Him when His Glory filled the place I was in. The cloud was so thick that I could hardly see myself in the midst. In the dream He said, “I have anointed you.” I woke from the dream and I was truly in the Presence of the Lord. His Presence was so thick I got up from my bed and went to worship Him. This dream impacted my life.
Although, He anointed me, and I have countless testimonies of His anointing on my life, I still leak. I still get to the place where my flesh rises up and lets me know it is time to fast and pray. Life will help you see it just as it helps me. Take some time in the near future and fast and pray that you might experience a spiritual release in your life. Wonderful Jesus!!