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NINEVEH’S FASTING EXPERIENCE

Open Heavens - Sunday, May 14, 2017
by Pastor E.A Adeboye
Details
NINEVEH’S FASTING EXPERIENCE

Read:
Jonah 3:1-10

Memorise:
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
Jonah 3:5

Bible in one year:
Deuteronomy 21-22
Jeremiah 31:1-14

Hymn:
Sing hymn 6 (in hard copy)

Fasting is a spiritual exercise every believer should often engage in because of the several benefits that can be derived from it. When the Lord was teaching His disciples about fasting during His earthly ministry, what he said to them was “when you fast” and not “if you fast” (Matthew 6:16). The Lord’s choice of words shows that he takes it as a given instruction that you will have to fast. However, if you engage in a spiritual exercise such as fasting but lack an understanding of the basis for doing so, you may not be able to optimize your gains from it. In other words, it is important to know why you should fast and know what you stand to gain from fasting. Knowledge plays a key role here.

Why should you fast? Prayer and fasting can help to restore spiritual fervour in your relationship with God. You can fast whenever you feel estranged or separated from God, whenever your heart is spiritually cold or when you sense that you lack sincerity in your humility. You can also fast as a mark of repentance, and to seek pardon and restoration from sin. Sin separates anyone from God, but if fasting is properly engaged, the estranged fellow can be drawn into God’s presence for mercy. If you take a look at Nineveh, you will see the effect of fasting in action. The people of Nineveh lived a very riotous life. They were engaged in several atrocities and abominable acts that called for God’s fiery judgment, like it happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. However, because of His righteous and merciful nature, God sent Jonah to go and warn them of His intention to destroy them because of their wickedness. As soon as Jonah sounded the warning, the people of Nineveh received the word and immediately declared a national fast. Nobody was exempted from the fast: the king, the nobles and even all their animals joined in the fast. Besides the fast from food and water, they abstained from all those things that provoke God’s anger, humbled themselves and cried out to God for mercy, and He heard them. Jonah 3:10 says,

“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

If you realize you are far from God, you can set aside things that give the body pleasure; fast and pray earnestly, asking God for His mercy and you will see His hand. If done according to heaven’s pattern, fasting is an exercise that can easily cause God to notice you as a candidate of His mercy. How often do you fast?

Key Point:
Fasting is a work of faith because it takes faith to fast and pray to a God you cannot physically see.



 


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