“… and your Father who sees… will reward you.” Matt 6:18
When fasting, we’re not supposed to seek the praise of men, as the passage in Matthew explains, nor as an attempt to earn God’s blessing. Yet when we fast with pure motives, where we focus on Him and our desperation for more of Him in our lives, that’s when God sends a blessing.
In Scripture, those who fasted always saw a reward. For Daniel, it was favor and position. For Esther, it was deliverance for her people. For Jehosephat, it was protection from destruction. For Nehamiah, it was the rebuilding of his hometown. For Ezra, it was guidance and protection for his people. For Anna, it was the privilege to meet baby Jesus. For Paul, it was direction in spreading the gospel.
So what blessing awaits us when we fast?
God does above and beyond all that we could ever ask or imagine, and His miracles come in all shapes and sizes. But this passage in Isaiah 58 will give us an idea of what He promises to those who fast properly. God says:
6“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
11And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets.
In that passage alone, I count 11 blessings!
Reward #1: Your light will break forth like the dawn. God promises freedom from sin, weakness, and bondage.
Reward #2: Your healing will be quick. God promises freedom from diseases and physical afflictions.
Reward #3: Your righteousness will go before you. God promises that your integrity and growth will be obvious to all.
Reward #4: The glory of God will guard you. God promises to protect you from harm, whether physical, emotional or spiritual.
Reward #5: When you call out to God, He will answer. God promises to listen and provide help when you need Him.
Reward #6: Your light will rise and gloom will dissipate. God promises joy and hope that will dispel all despair.
Reward #7: God will always guide you. God promises to lead you through this tough world with His wisdom.
Reward #8: God will make your bones strong. God promises to give you good health, physical strength and vitality.
Reward #9: You shall be like a watered garden. God promises to nourish and refresh you so you’re not bent with burdens.
Reward #10: Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt. God promises to restore what has been lost or destroyed in your life.
Reward #11: You will raise up the foundations of many generations. God promises a good heritage to your family.
Doesn’t that sound so exciting? These blessings make the sacrifice easier to bear. When life gets chaotic and everything goes wrong, when we are tempted over and over to break our fast, when the enemy comes hard against us and our family – we have something to look forward to!
There’s a reward waiting for us if we press on and don’t give up. Fasting is supposed to be hard, and we’re going to grow weary of the sacrifice, but it’s not about us. It’s about Him.
And then in the end, when we finally arrive, God will get the glory, and He will reward our faithfulness.
For more blog posts on fasting: