When King David fasted what was his motive?
[Gary Petty] We’ve been producing a Beyond Today program about fasting. One of the most famous stories about fasting in the Bible involves King David.
King David had committed adultery and had a man murdered. And God told him that he was going to be punished for it. Now David repented, but he still had to be punished for his sin. And what God was going to do, He was going to allow his baby to die. Well, the baby was born. And that little newborn baby is suffering, he’s ill and David fast. He spent seven days praying and fasting for God’s intervention. At the end of the seven days, the baby dies. And when David finds out about it, he does something very strange. His servants were even afraid to tell him because they thought he would maybe harm himself. His grief was so intense. And yet what he did was he stopped, he went, he cleaned himself up, he ate, he put on clean clothes, and he went to the tabernacle and he worshipped God.
Now, that simple story, we can read through that and miss the importance of what is happening there. David went to God, and yes he was imploring for the life of his baby. And he was fasting. But he wasn’t fasting as a hunger strike to try to prepare God for His will. He wasn’t going to God and saying, “Okay I’m going to fast, I’m going to appease You and in this suffering You will now do what I want.” Instead David had gone to God to draw close to God in this humbling experience of fasting—going without food and water for this period of time so that he could be prepared for God’s will. In the end, he accepted God’s decision as a good decision. He accepted that his baby had died and that it was good and that God was good. And he went and he worshipped God.
That tells us something about fasting. Fasting is one of the least understood and most often ignored teachings of Jesus Christ. When we fast, we are not to fast to prepare God for our will, but to be prepared for the will of God.
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