Summary: Fasting has never been commanded to the church, so do we need to do it?
Fasting, is it Necessary?
I have fasted and I have fasted and prayed, but this study that I have done has been good for me to realize I may not have always done it for the right reason or been effective in it. So I stand here as a learner, as usual.
A lot more people can fast than do, but because of heath reasons it is not always a good idea and you know yourselves. For pastor Lindsay’s mom who is diabetic fasting is not a good plan and for some there are other health risks.
It so happened that this past week Lindsay and I were also reading the Book of Esther in the mornings. In the Book of Esther we find a tremendous lesson in fasting and I want to look at her story this morning.
Instead of reading the whole Book of Esther I am going to give you a quick overview of the story.
a. story of Esther
• King Ahasuerus (Xerxes, 486 to 465 BC) of Persia has a six
month celebration, followed by a seven day feast, also one
hosted by his wife, Queen Vashti, for the women - Es 1:1-9
• Ahasuerus decides to show off his wife, but she refuses to
cooperate - Es 1:10-12
• In anger, Ahasuerus has Vashti banished, as a warning to all
wives - Es 1:13-22
• A search to replace Vashti was begun - Es 2:1-4
• In Shusan there was Mordecai, a Jew raising his lovely and
beautiful cousin Hadassah (Esther) - Es 2:5-7
• Together with other beautiful virgins, she underwent 12 months
of preparation, and ultimately was selected to replace Vashti
- Es 2:8-19
• But she did not reveal that she was a Jew - Es 2:20
• Meanwhile, Mordecai thwarted a plot against Ahasuerus - Es
• Haman the Agagite, is promoted, but Mordecai as a Jew refuses
to bow before him, which infuriates Haman - Es 3:1-5
• Haman receives permission from Ahasuerus to kill the Jews, the
13th of Adar - Es 3:6-15
• Mordecai mourns in sackcloth and ashes at the king's gate - Es
• Esther hears of her cousin, and learns of Haman's plan to kill
the Jews - Es 4:4-9
• Mordecai convinces Esther to approach the king, at great risk
to her own life - Es 4:10-17
• Esther instructs Mordecai to get all the Jews to fast From food and drink for 3 days and nights and she and her maids would do likewise because if she approached the King without his permission she was at risk of execution. 4:16-17
• Esther is granted an audience,
• She invites the king and Haman to a
banquet - Es 5:1-5
• She invites them to another banquet the following night, to
make her petition - Es 5:6-8
• As Haman leaves he is angered when Mordecai refuses to bow to
him; his wife and friends persuade him to build a gallows for Mordecai - Es 5:9-14
• That night the king can't sleep; reading through the archives
he learns how Mordecai thwarted the plot against him, yet nothing had been done to honour him - Es 6:1-3
• The king asks Haman what should be done to honour a good man;
Haman assumes the king intends to honour him and answers accordingly - Es 6:4-9