Isaiah 58 is about fasting, verses 1-5 are critical of the heart condition of those fasting, even though they seem zealous to serve GOD. Verses 6-14 tell of the heart condition and type of fasting that pleases GOD and will receive His blessings. Fasting is not to be just denying oneself of food, but of pleasure, leisure, work, personal desire, entertainment, etc. so that you can minister to others.
“Give up yourself for others.” “Lay down you life for the brothers.” “Love one another as I have loved you.” “Be kind, tender hearted forgiving one another as I have forgiven you.” “I have become all things to all men that by all means I might win a few to Christ.” “Do to others what you want done to you.” These are few common (paraphrased) quotes of scripture that remind us that we are not Christians for our own sake. We are saved and live for Jesus so that we receive all of the eternal benefits of salvation. But, we are not saved to hang on until the end and living for Jesus is more than earning points for future rewards it is about expanding His Kingdom and destroying the kingdom of darkness.
My concept of Fasting Ministry is that we give of our most important commodity, time. We still need to seek GOD in prayer and fasting in the traditional way and we need to remember Jesus’ admonitions about giving, praying, fasting, and rewards (Matthew 6:1-21), we are to do them before GOD, not to be seen of men. It is impossible to do everything in secret but it is possible to not go about bragging and proclaiming.
Do you watch sporting events regularly? Then give them up once in awhile to help someone, mow a lawn, clean a gutter, repair leaking plumbing for someone that cannot do it themselves.
Do you go to the movies regularly? Then baby sit so someone can go shopping or go to the movies, take their car to the garage.
Do you enjoy sitting around reading or working puzzles, or playing video games? Then lay them aside to give time to your church to help with their projects or ministries.
Do you regularly sell vacation time back to your employer? Then take vacation time and go on a short mission trip to support missionaries, or volunteer at the local homeless shelter, food bank, or feeding ministry for a week.
We all have time and things that we can do to bless others rather than ourselves. Isn’t that what the LORD is saying in Isaiah 58:6-7, 9b-10a, & 13, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Isit not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, if you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words.” The rewards of this type of fast are in verses 8-9a, 10b-12, & 14.