Hank Hanegraaff, the host of the 𝘉𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘢𝘯 broadcast and the 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘜𝘯𝘱𝘭𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘥 podcast, continues teaching on the many splendored discipline of fasting. The primary purpose of fasting is to experience God as the source and substance of life that is truly life. To taste the heavenly manna. To drink divine water so as to never thirst again. To recognize union with Christ as the apex of human existence. In the words of one who himself had been blinded by the light: “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” As we behold Him, we become what we were designed to be—Christians growing in His image and being transformed into His likeness. As glorious as this high peak truth is, there are myriad other reasons to fast. The Ninevites fasted in sackcloth and ashes, and God stayed his hand of judgment. Ezra “ate no food and drank no water” as he mourned the unfaithfulness of exiles who had returned to the land but had not returned to the Lord. Esther fasted from food and water for three days and nights and begged Jews in the province of Susa to do likewise—thus they averted the genocidal plot of Haman, personal advisor to the Persian king Xerxes. The church at Antioch fasted and prayed as Saul, turned Paul, was being set apart for his glorious commission as Apostle to the Gentiles. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus placed fasting on par with prayer and almsgiving as “an act of righteousness.” Not to be seen by men, but by our Father “who sees what is done in secret.” And Jesus weaves fasting together with prayer and almsgiving as a three-braided cord connecting us to our Father who is in heaven and to our own flesh and blood who are on the earth. As Isaiah says, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”
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