🤔 There are so very many in God’s Story that shirked the physical to build the spiritual!
There are three very famous people in God’s Story (His-Story/history) that did forty-day fasts. The first was Moses when he went up to receive the Ten Commandments from The Lord on Mount Sinai: “And he was there with The LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” Exodus 34:28.
Moses was obviously sustained by the miraculous power of God since this fast eliminated both food and water.
The second person in the Bible that fasted forty-days and forty nights was Elijah: “And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.” 1 Kings 19: 7, 8.
The third person in the Bible who fasted forty days and forty nights was Jesus. “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.” Matthew 4:1, 2. Moses and Elijah had a very important work to do for God, as did Christ, but why was this long fast so necessary for our Savior? The difference with Jesus’ long fast from the others was that Christ’s abstinence from food and His victory over the enemy was done in our behalf and was to aid us in the work of overcoming.
Although the Bible doesn’t give a direct command on this issue, examples of fasting appear in both the Old and the New Testaments. One of the most telling passages in which fasting is mentioned is Matthew 6:16, where Jesus is teaching His disciples basic principles of godly living. When speaking on fasting, He begins with, “When you fast,” not “If you fast.”
Jesus’ words imply that fasting will be a regular practice in His followers’ lives.
What does The Word share?
“Yet even now,” declares The Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach.
“That your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 7:5
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 9:27
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Kings 19:8
And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
1 Samuel 31:13
And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
1 Samuel 7:6
So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Corinthians 11:27
In toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
2 Samuel 1:12
And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
2 Samuel 12:16
David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.
2 Samuel 3:35
Then all the people came to persuade David to eat bread while it was yet day. But David swore, saying, “God do so to me and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!”
And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing.”
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.
And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.
So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
“‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.”
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”
“Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”
Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.
Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly.
Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.
“I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”
And then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
For forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads.
My knees are weak through fasting; my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
“Say to all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted?’”
Thus says the Lord of hosts: “The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.”