“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might deny ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and cavalry to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king that the hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him, but his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him. So we fasted and petitioned our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.” Ezra 8:21-23
We have focused so much on the meaning of fasting to be just for the purpose of acquiring something from God, but fasting is more than that.
In this verse, Ezra’s faith was tested to the core. For he and his entourage to get to where they were going, they prayed, and fasted for God’s protection even over their children. It means we can fast also to ask God to protect us, and not to give us something.
Fasting is very powerful. I can tell you this, and please, I want you to believe me, that faster has higher degree than prayer! You can pray all the time, in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening or in the night, but when it comes to fasting, you have time usually set for this.
You can fast in until noon, or three in the afternoon, or till 6pm. And this is not all! Do you know there are different types of fasting? I will not go fully into that here because it is for another post but here are few,
— Day Fasting – this you fast within a day or more, from specific hour to another.
— White Fasting – to go on this, you can drink water but no food, no salt. Some believers prefer to carry on this fasting with juice.
— Dry fasting – when you go for this, you don’t drink or eat. You stay on fasting without any.
Back to Ezra, there was no doubt he and his people were scared of their journey, I mean they themselves, alone, and perhaps it was such a long journey that required tight security. But because Ezra was known to be a man of faith, and to his king, Ezra’s God is sufficient to protect him. Thus, the king did not bother giving out security men as guards for Ezra and his people, and Ezra himself did not dare ask the king.
If he did, he would be contradicting his faith in God, and if initially the king is on the verge of converting, he (King) may withdraw, believing that after all, Ezra’s God is not worth going with.
Due to the shame, Ezra withdrew his demands, then he and his people prayed and fasted. You know what? This is faith! And it is such a powerful faith that took them safely throughout their long journey till they reached their destination.
They never used the king’s soldiers, or cavalry, all they used were their faith and their trust in God. And the Lord protected them, no harm came to them, nothing happened to their children, the enemy did not attacked them.
Often, we rely so hard on the security men, the men of the law, the Police or whoever to protect us, but I want you to know that all these people are mere human like you. They have their limits. In fact, there is little they can do for you.
What if you are in dire need of help and you are there calling 911, or 18, have you ever pause to think of this? You may have gotten into big mess before the help you called would come. This is because their distance to you at that time is not near, or they are busy elsewhere, or there is miscommunication during the call.
They cannot bring help to you immediately but with God, this is instant! You don’t know to pick a phone to call God to come and rescue you. He is right there by your side. You only need to gear up your sleeping faith to see Him. Fast, pray and hold on to your faith.
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