Summary: This message explores the spiritual discipline of fasting from the perspective of overcoming the stronghold of food. Extensive inspiration for this message taken from Mike Bickle’s "The Rewards of Fasting."
Okay, repeat after me. “This Morning. . .I will be. . .truly honest with myself. I will not hide. I will not deny. I will not lie. I will listen for God’s voice. And apply it to my life.”
So now this isn’t between you and me. This is between you and God. And just between you and God, I want you to honestly, truthfully, answer the following questions:
Do you ever schedule your day around eating?
Have you ever left an event or gathering to fulfill an urge for food?
Are you more likely to attend an event where there is free food?
Are you more likely to attend an all-church luncheon or an all-church hour of prayer?
Among the many church bulletin bloopers you can find was the following National Prayer and Fasting Conference announcement: “The cost to attend the Prayer and Fasting Conference includes meals.” You’ll get it in a minute. So would you be more likely to attend?
How about this one, have you ever taken communion with the paper see through wafers, and complained about the choice of bread?
Honestly. Truthfully. How about these?
Do you ever eat or drink to calm your nerves?
Do you ever eat or drink to alleviate fear?
Do you eat or drink for comfort?
Do you eat or drink to find joy?
Do you ever look to food in order to feel better about your day or life?
Do you ever eat, even when you are not hungry?
You see I am especially intrigued by my own answers to that second set of questions. Because if I asked you to describe to me, or give a label to something that is a key resource that I utilize for calming my nerves, for making me feel better, or for bringing me comfort. . .at best you might call it a dependency, and at worst you might call it an idol or even a god.
Is it any wonder that if animals could talk, they would probably see us humans living something like this (Over the Hedge clip)?
Now that is pretty humorous, because when push come to shove we are quick to say, “It’s just food.” But again, under our vow and commitment to be honest with God this morning. Is it?
Grab a Bible, and join me as we journey through a few thousand years over the next couple minutes. Begin by turning to Genesis, chapter 3. Genesis chapter 3 (read through verse 6).
The serpent was crafty. And with everything at his disposal, what did he choose to bring about the fall? Not just any old sin. But “the fall.” What was his weapon of warfare? Food.
And lest you think Eve was just tempted by the prospect of being like God. Look again at verse 6 (re-read). “Good for food.” “A delight to the eyes.” It’s just food. Or is it?
Journey forward in God’s Word and you come to that sinful city of Sodom. A city whose name will be utilized for centuries, even today, to demark a place of sinfulness and corruption. And we often link Sodom to immorality and sexual sin. But look at one of the other underlying sins that we see was influencing Sodom. Turn to Ezekiel 16. Ezekiel 16:49 (read through verse 50).
God declares through the prophet. These are the things that brought Sodom down. She was prideful. She prospered without even having to work. And she had an excess of food. And in the midst of this gluttonous, lazy, prideful existence, she did nothing to help the poor and the needy. But it’s just food. Or is it?
The Hebrew children had been enslaved by Egypt. God raised up Moses and Aaron to lead the people out of the land, and to the Promised Land. They were free. They could care for their children. Husband and wife could be together. The beatings were over. The oppression. The demanding work of Pharaoh to build his kingdom and increase his power. That was all behind them.
And the question to ask is, what in the world would cause people to want to go back to that? They witnessed the plagues. They watched Pharaoh stalk them until God parted the Red Sea. They were led by a pillar of fire at night and cloud by day. And yet they were willing to reject everything that God promised them, and all that He had done on their behalf. Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone want to return to a life of slavery? Turn to Numbers 11. Numbers 11:4 (read through verse 6).
“So what if they whipped me. So what if they stifled my worship of God. So what if they separated my family. So what if they treated me like the very dirt of the ground. I had good food! Meat, and cucumbers, melons and leeks. Now I just have this cruddy manna!”