Sunday, 21st February 2021
Ps Anna Chang (611 BOL Church)
We want to fast but if what we do is not what God accepts, then we have fast for nothing, right?
“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’” (Isaiah 58:1-3a)
Isaiah 58 was written for those who were in Babylon and they longed to return to Jerusalem, and in the previous chapter, Isaiah was rebuking the Israelites for idol worshiping and offering. Through the prophet, God told Israelites to get rid of the idols, and also in Isaiah 58, God commanded him to cry aloud, to declare, to shout to the people nonstop, to not hold back. God wanted Isaiah to have this attitude of urgency to call the Israelites, to declare their rebellious and to turn away from their sins.
God called them the House of Jacob, the people He once brought out from Egypt, to enter the Promised Land, to make a covenant with, to give the Ten Commandments to… they have gone too far away from God, and finally they wanted to turn back. But they were not worshiping God the way God pleases. We need to use the ways acceptable to God, not the way we think is right to worship.
If God loves us, would He not notice us? Of course God always cares for us, but when we pray for a long time and did not receive an answer, then we will start wondering why God does not listen to us. God wants us to worship Him with truth and spirit, to worship in the way that shows how much we know Him. God will not abandon us, He knows our every thought and every movement. We often make our worship transactional and demanding.
We need to know God better and worship Him deeper, in the past, we seem to think we know how to worship God. We need to go back to the RAW – Restore the Authentic Worship. It should be simple, pure and from the heart. If we are chasing anointing in our worship, this is not what God pleases, He wants us to have unity and care for one another.
“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high.” (Isaiah 58:3b-4)
God wants the people of Israel to see what were they doing! Even though they did not worship idols, they needed to see how they treated people – exploit labourers and strike with fist of wickedness. We thought we are spiritual Christians, but when we see deeper, we will see the problems we have with people, our interactions, our relationships, our striving, God has abundant blessings for us, but we are using our own strength to strive.
When we fast, we need to worship, and in worship will need to know God better, to honour God better, to worship God better, to let all people and things to know that God is more important than food to us.
Ps Kathy Poon
Just like what Pastor Anna shared, there are two elements in praying and fasting.
- True Worship
- Deeper Confession
It’s been the seventh day since our first day of fast and pray. One of the sisters shared that when she was reflecting her life, she was serving God whole heartedly, she did not need to worry about anything, she only needed to pray and spend time at church. But after she had her baby, everything was out of her control, at the end of the day she would feel so tired and could not worship God.
During praying and fasting, she realized that all the things she has are blessings from God. Her house, her family, her husband, her children… they are all blessings from God but she sees them as burden. She was not experience God in God’s way but in her own way. The fasting that God accepts is from true worship.
It’s not like if we do this and that then God will accept us. The ultimate goal of the true worship is like Jesus’ prayer in the garden Luke 22:42, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
We want God to take away all our burdens of serving our family then we can worship God. But the highest level of worship is to submit, to tell God not to fulfill our will but the Will of God. When we see the cross, there is the vertical relationship, to set apart our lives and focus on God, and the horizontal relationship, our relationships with our family, husband, children, parents, colleagues, friends, etc. only with the vertical and horizontal relationship then we can have the cross.
If we only want the vertical relationship, then we can ask God to let us go to Heaven straight after we were baptised. But today we become Christians because God wants us to bring this vertical relationship with God, the power of the cross, to our family, our workplace, our community, and transform.
Being busy is the worst excuse for us not to worship God. we need to enter into this true worship, may the Will of God be done not our will. When we are struggling with our lives, this is when we need to come closer to God, to submit to God completely, to tell Him that we are weak and to ask Him to help. Through our experiences of daily life, in impossible situations, we call out to God and cry out for His help. Through these situations, God gives the anoitning of worhsip to us, bit by bit.
True relationship with God is not until we feel we have no more pressure and no more burden of this world. But it is today, in every burden, every responsibility, we let God’s presence into our lives, to surround ourselves and say, “Lord, may Your Will be done”.
Breakthrough happened not because ho hard we pray but our total submission in front of God. A lot of times we might feel that what we do have no value in this world. But do we really see blessings in our families, our marriage, our children, our work, our responsibilities…
Do we really believe the thoughts God carries for us are good thoughts to give us peace, not to curse us. When we enter to the fasting God accepts, we have true worship, to understand what is the true worship is to know God’s Will better. Then, we need to confess deeper, everyday meditate on our horizontal relationship, our relationships with others and repent deeper.