09 Purposes of Fasting
By Pastor Bill Murchison
We are looking at the many purposes of fasting. One of the purposes was for protection from our enemies. We saw that Ezra fasted for protection from his enemies while traveling from Babylon to Jerusalem. This week I want to look at another example of fasting for protection. This time we will look at the book of Esther.
In Esther 3, Haman plotted to put all of the Jews in the Persian Empire to death. In Esther 4, “when Mordecai learned all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and wailed loudly and bitterly.” Haman was not the only one that fasted. We read that “in each and every province where the command and decree of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing; and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.” The Jews were in danger of being exterminated, and so they fasted and cried out to God to save them from this evil plan of destruction. Mordecai also sent word to Esther and told her, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)
Esther tells Mordecai to go and assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa and fast for her. They were not to eat or drink for three nights and days. She and her maidens were also going to fast in the same way. During that fast, God spoke to King Ahasuerus about honoring the man who had warned the king about the plot to kill him. (It turned out to be Mordecai, who Haman despised. Esther 6:1-9) The Lord also led Esther to give two consecutive banquets and invite Haman to the banquets. On the second banquet, Haman’s evil plan was disclosed to the king, and he was hung on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. (Esther 7:7-10) Then, Mordecai was raised up in place of Haman to be second to the King. A new decree was signed by the King that allowed the Jews to defend themselves. Over 75,000 people, who sought to kill the Jews, were put to death. The tables were turned. Instead of the Jews being wiped out, the enemies were wiped out. All of this came as a result of Mordecai, Esther, and others fasting for protection.
Father, help us understand the many purposes of fasting. Help us to learn to use the weapons of our warfare effectively. May we fast with the right purposes. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.