7 is a holy number to the Lord. 7 is a number of perfection. It is the number of God. Today is our 7th day of fasting. Let’s worship the Lord for his goodness, since he has helped us and given us strength to fast for a full week!
By this day of the fast, you may be finding that the Lord is opening doors for you and doing a great work. You may also notice the enemy is working more aggressively to oppose your fast. Do not be surprised, but honored and thankful that you belong to the Lord, and as a result, are a threat to the enemy.
Today, let us begin to read the fasting chapter in Isaiah, to understand the purpose of fasting.
Isaiah 58 ‘Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 “Why have we fasted,” they say,
“and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?”
‘Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 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?
6 ‘Is not this the kind of fasting 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?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I.
‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 ‘If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honourable,
and if you honour it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Lord, my God. Teach me to fast. Teach me. While I eliminate distractions and food from my life, I pray that you will eliminate sin and selfishness from me. Cleanse me, Oh Lord, from my self-centeredness and spiritual blindness. Help me to see what you see, Lord. Help me to follow you all the days of my life.
I submit my life to you. I give you my days. Show me the way to walk that I may walk in it. Teach me to open my hands to the poor and those in need. Show me where I can sacrifice my time, money and resources to help the poor, hungry and needy.
Lord, may I not just pray for the poor and needy, but help them by your power. Show me, Oh Lord, people who need help, people who need loving. May I not be evil and turn my eyes away from those in need.
God, forgive me for getting overwhelmed so easily. Help me to do what is right, even when it is uncomfortable or stretches me.
It says in your Word, Oh Lord, “my light will break forth like the dawn,
and (my) healing will quickly appear;
then (my) righteousness[a] will go before (me),
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then I will call, and (you) Lord will answer;
(I) will cry for help, and (you) will say: here am I.
Thank you for keeping your promises, Lord. As I am being obedient to repent and to help those in need, you will bring my healing quickly like the dawn. Use my life to bring light to others, so that your light may clothe me in righteousness, through Jesus Christ.
I call on you, Lord! Answer me, according to your unfailing love and faithfulness. Heal me, Oh Lord, in Jesus’ name.
I do away with malicious talk and the pointing of the finger. Forgive me for gossip, slander and back-biting, Lord. Tame my tongue, Lord, that I may walk in your ways. I want to be like you, Jesus. You defend us from the accuser. May I also be one to defend the oppressed and the one gossiped about.
You are my defender, Oh Lord. Defend me against mine enemies- seen and unseen. I know that my battle is not against flesh and blood. Protect me, Oh Lord. Give me ever increasing strength to stand in the day of evil. I stand against the enemy and ask that you will oppose him in your strength, Father. Through the blood of Jesus, I am saved from my sin, delivered from death, and freed from curses over my life. Through the resurrection of Jesus, I am raised to life, power and salvation.
God, you say in this passage that when I fast in your way that I will become the Repairer of Broken Walls. Please rebuild the walls of protection around my family that has been damaged for generations. Bring about an ever increasing strength and heritage for my family for a 1000 generations.
In Jesus’ name!