Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Daniel Fast: 21 Days to the Heart of God

Today our church has begun a new adventure; the adventure of the Daniel Fast.  It’s a 21 day partial fast.  I like to call it a 21 day journey to the heart of God!


You might be asking yourself, what is the Daniel Fast?  Great question! 

In Daniel 1:12 we read “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.” (KJV) 

Then in Daniel 10:2-3 we read, “At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks.  I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.”

Ok, it’s Bible lesson time!  I like the KJV translation of Daniel 1:12 because it uses the word pulse (in other translations you will see the word vegetables).  Now, the Hebrew for pulse is zerason {zay-raw-ohn'}; from zara something sown.  Susan Gregory says in her book, The Daniel Fast: Feed your soul, strengthen your spirit, and renew your body, “Pulse was food that originated from the seed, including legumes and fruit.”[i]  Various commentators also agree on this point. For example, Matthew Henry’s Commentary says concerning the meaning, “during that time let us have nothing but pulse to eat, nothing but herbs and fruits, or parched peas or lentils, and nothing but water to drink…”[ii]

So basically this means, we can eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans and different types of grains (brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and whole wheat chapatti, etc.) Now concerning Daniel 10:3 “choice food” the Hebrew word here is lechem {lekh'-em}: bread, food.  So from this we denote that Daniel didn’t eat any bread.  Matthew Henry also notes “During the days of Daniel’s mourning he ate no pleasant bread…”[iii]  Nor did he eat meat or drink wine, so on the Daniel Fast the only beverage is water.    

For 21 days we restrict ourselves to a strict vegan diet.  No dairy, no sugars, no bread, no animal products but instead we eat whole foods, no chemicals, no man made stuff; with the hope that in our fast we would draw closer to the heart of the Father. 


Sure we restrict ourselves in what we eat, but we do it with great hope and expectation for God to move.  Yes, it’s going to be difficult at times.  I love cheese, I love bread, and I love myself a nice tall cool glass of ice tea, but I love Jesus and you more.  I want you to know Him and His Love.  

So as I enter into this fast this is my prayer.  Lord Jesus may my one and only focus be on You, not food, but You, on getting to know You more and on being a vessel of your Love to this world.  I’ve asked the Lord for some type of a focus in this fast, and I keep getting drawn back to Deut. 30:11-20 and the idea of choosing life over death, knowing that God and His Word is very near to me.  So this will be the passage I will be meditating on over these next 21 days.   

Fasting is a very powerful tool in a spiritual arsenal against the Devil and his foes.  In fasting we empty ourselves so we may be filled to the fullness of God in Christ. We need this, I know I do.  We get so consumed with ourselves that we leave no room for the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.  Being emptied is a beautiful thing friend, because what we get in return is pure hope, peace, joy, and freedom like our hearts have never known.      




[i] Gregory, Susan.  The Daniel Fast: feed your soul, strengthen your spirit, and renew your body. (Carol Stream:  Tyndale House Publishers, 2010), 17.


 


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