Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-34
This is my 11th year beginning a New Year with a fast. I have learned some invaluable lessons about fasting during this time.
#1 It can be painful. I’m reminded of how significant of a grasp my carnal nature has over my life.
#2 It’s liberating. Each year when ending a fast, my self-control and discipline get a little stronger. I learn better how to resist my flesh and “walk in the spirit.”
#3 The results of fasting go beyond the time fasted. I have experienced breakthrough and answers to prayer later in the year beyond my January fast.
In the Bible, we read how individuals and nations turn to fasting in crisis. Faith in God has not made us immune to the effects of sin in this world. We still experience heartache, challenges, brokenness, and disappointment, the list goes on and on.
Yet, God has not left us defenseless but has given us fasting as a weapon to overcome difficult situations. The situations you’re facing are not the result of God’s failure to act on your behalf, but an opportunity for God to show Himself as an “an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat is up against unbeatable odds. He received word that a great multitude had come up against him in battle. The king is outmatched in every way. The sheer numbers predict a very big loss in battle. There is no human strategy that can victoriously confront the armies before him.
When your situation looks hopeless and there’s no earthly way around it, what do you do? How do you respond when circumstances beyond your means and serves you notice? Do you fall apart in fear? Are you overwhelmed with anxiety? Do you pretend that it’s not happening?
When you’re outmatched, you need to fast!
“3Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” 2 Chronicles 20:3
The king’s first response was “to be afraid” but by choosing to fast, he gained newfound courage. While fasting, the king recalled the faithfulness of God in the past and began to name off the promises of God. Fasting produces a renewed confidence in God to do what He has said He will do.
It recalibrates your mindset from what you can do, to what God has done and will do. God’s actions in the past are a reminder of what He will do in the present and future.
The people of Judah were told, the battle was not theirs, the battle belonged to the Lord! When situations are bigger than you, remember that you serve a God who is bigger than your circumstances.
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”Psalm 34:17
God hears your prayers and delivers the righteous from ALL their troubles. As we learned on Sunday, persistent prayer is one key to answered prayer. Fasting is a continual prayer before God.
So what happened to King Jehoshaphat and the people when they fasted? God caused great confusion to come upon the three armies and they destroyed themselves.
Stay focused in prayer and make your request known to God. God is listening and is ready to deliver you from all your troubles!