Fasting is a holy and legitimate pursuit of a Holy God. It can be of great use in conducting a rigorous spiritual inventory of one’s soul and spiritual fruitfulness.
Psalm 35:1–28 (NLT)
1O LORD, oppose those who oppose me. Fight those who fight against me.
2Put on your armor, and take up your shield. Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.
3Lift up your spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Let me hear you say, “I will give you victory!”
4Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me; turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.
5Blow them away like chaff in the wind— a wind sent by the angel of the LORD.
6Make their path dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
7I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me. I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me.
8So let sudden ruin come upon them! Let them be caught in the trap they set for me! Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me.
9Then I will rejoice in the LORD. I will be glad because he rescues me.
10With every bone in my body I will praise him: “LORD, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?”
11Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.
12They repay me evil for good. I am sick with despair.
13Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered.
14I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother.
15But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly.
16They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me.
17How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions!
18Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. I will praise you before all the people.
19Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat. Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.
20They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.
21They shout, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we saw him do it!”
22O LORD, you know all about this. Do not stay silent. Do not abandon me now, O Lord.
23Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord.
24Declare me not guilty, O LORD my God, for you give justice. Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.
25Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted! Now we will eat him alive!”
26May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced. May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor.
27But give great joy to those who came to my defense. Let them continually say, “Great is the LORD, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!”
28Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long.
Psalm 35:13 — “I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered….”
“Let us say something about fasting, because many, for want of knowing its usefulness, undervalue its necessity, and some reject it as almost superﬂuous; while, on the other hand where the use of it is not well understood, it easily degenerates into superstition. Holy and legitimate fasting is directed to three ends; for we practice it either as a restraint on the ﬂesh, to preserve it from licentiousness, or as a preparation for prayers and pious meditations, or as a testimony of our humiliation in the presence of God when we are desirous of confessing our guilt before him.” John Calvin
Father in heaven, through your probing eyes search my heart and reveal to me the areas of my life that are hindering fellowship with you.
Expose those areas of my life that are interfering with my spiritual fruitfulness. Grant me the courage to face them with faith and confess
them fully and humbly before you. Father, I want more of you and to be fully used by you. Amen.
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