“Whenever you fast, don’t be sad-faced like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so their fasting is obvious to people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you fast, put oil on your head, and wash your face, so that you don’t show your fasting to people but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Hunger and thirst for righteousness
Fasting is a great example of the consistency of God’s law from Old Testament to new. Both exist a consistency and a (discrepancy?). Things stay the same and others change. We wouldn’t know how to fast or why to fast if it wasn’t for the OT.
Giving, praying, and fasting were an assumed part of regular devotion to God.
v16 - Not If When
Examples in scripture...
Normal fast - no food just water, preparation for a significant event. ;
Partial fast - partial restriction
Absolute fast - no food or water to discern God’s leading.
Private & Corporate - usually private but at times done as a group.
Day of atonement
Seeking God’s guidance , ;
Day of atonement was only required day in OT ;
Why fast? Teach/remind yourself to be hungry, and where fulfillment comes from.
“Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!
v16 - Not for your praise - Right thing wrong reason.
If you do acts of righteousness for the purpose of being seen as a good person, or a disciplined person, you will most likely be successful but that will be your only reward. A temporal one rather than an eternal one.
Rather than hungering and thirsting for righteousness they are hungry for praise and admiration. I want to be liked, loved, known, accepted, so I do righteousness to belong. I show up in church and play the part, wear the mask I’m supposed to so I can have community, but the scariest part of this text we are looking at is that He tells us we’ll succeed in getting what we’re after while missing what we actually need.
When frustrated with Israel because they built the golden calf God told them He would give them what they wanted, Canaan but His presence would not go with them. Moses responded if we gain Canaan but loose you we loose everything. what good is it to gain the whole world and loose your soul.
v 17 - We serve and obey out of joy not mere obligation
Present yourself as doing well rather than making it obvious you are fasting. Don’t try to look miserable so people see you suffering. Also though to follow Christ is to suffer, we are promised joy. We should obey and seek Him as the joy of walking with Him, and we will radiate that joy in our appearance.
“If God is not real to you, it will be miserable to endure something difficult with God as the only one who knows. It will all seem very pointless, very inefficient because the whole range of horizontal possibilities will be nullified because no one knows what you are experiencing. All that matters is God and who he is and what he thinks and what he will do.” - John Piper
v18 -Revival 6:9-13 God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.