Fasting is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. Matthew 6:17-18 tells us that God will reward us in fasting if we seek Him with right motives. Hebrews 11:6 instructs that we must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Isaiah 58 also lists a series of promises to those who fast with godly motives.
So first, what are these godly motives as revealed in Isaiah 58:5-7?
*To humble ourselves before God. It is a means by which we are able to bring the mind, will, emotions, and personality (our soul) into subjection to Him. We are brought into a deeper level of yieldedness and repentance before God.
*To free our soul from fleshly desires and selfishness. As we begin to separate ourselves from food and the pleasures that occupy much of our time and we give ourselves to seeking God, then the things that we have been holding as precious in our lives begin to be revealed.
*To let go of heavy burdens and cares of this world that have weighed us down to the point where we may have lost our joy and gladness.
*To receive healing for the wounds of our soul, causing us to look at those who have wounded us with the eyes of the Father.
*To deny ourselves for others; to enter into a lifestyle of self-sacrifice in order to more effectively minister to the needs of others. Fasting burns away self..
*To turn our hearts towards our homes and families. Fasting is meant to take the darkened areas of our hearts and bring them to the light, making us aware of how often we sin against God and our families by misrepresenting the Father's love.
Then what are the blessings God promises in Isaiah 58:8-12?
*Your light will break out like the dawn. Though dark circumstances are all around you, and distress and troubles seek to overcome you, there will be a light that arises within you even in the midst of the darkness of the hour.
*Your recovery will spring forth. This is a promise of health for our spirit, soul, and body.
*Your righteousness (reputation) will go before you. Fasting sets our heart right with God and with men as we humble ourselves and seek to meet the needs of others.
*The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Fasting calms the flesh and causes us to become more sensitive to the presence of God. We enter into a realm where we are not relying upon our own wisdom and understanding as God's presence begins to impart to us the mind of Christ. Wisdom from above protects and guards us from error and wrong thinking.
*Then you will call, and the Lord will answer. Fasting releases the faith that chases off unbelief so that we can believe for the impossible.
*You will cry, and He will say, "Here I am." Fasting brings a renewed sense of the presence of God. It may not happen during the fast because this is a season of death to the flesh. New life comes when the fast is over and slothfulness and complacency have been burned away.