Why is fasting important for believers in Christ? Can the ancient children of Israel teach us anything about this subject? You’d be surprised! Numbers chapter 11 is a great chapter in scripture. For anyone who has a sense of humor and cares to see the humor in other things, you might even laugh out loud a couple of times while reading it! But for this post, I will hone in on verses 7 to 9 just to give us an idea of what in the world manna physically was!
7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 8 The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil. 9 And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it. Numbers 11:7-9
If you care to read on in this chapter you will discover that the people grumble. They grumble a LOT. The people grumbled before they received the manna, and they grumbled even more after they received the manna. Manna was everywhere! It was like the leftover turkey at Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter how many different types of meals you make from manna to try and spruce it up, in the end it’s still manna! But they were hungry, and so they ate, and they ate, and they ate. I imagine some were saying “OOOOH, this is going to be a GOOD TIME”. The rest, at best, saw it as a learning experience and perhaps said “OHHHH (sigh), perhaps this will make for a GOOD STORY”.
I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10
Oh man, let me tell ya – If God had said that to me directly I would have been like a little bird with mouth open wide, waiting for mamma birdie to drop in the worms! The truth is, however, He IS saying that to me, and to you, and to all of us. So what is wrong with us that we so often don’t open our mouths? Do we find manna so very boring?
“It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table”A.W. Tozer
We don’t eat because we are not hungry. Our appetites have been filled with other things.
Whew boy, where do I begin. Appetites can be both ferocious and insatiable – and I’m not just referring to the growl in your stomach, either! What do you do when you know your appetite for something makes you a slave to that something, and keeps you from moving forward?
We can use me as an example. I know I’m overweight and under-exercised. If I wanted to, I could pull out a lot of excuses that would keep me fat and comfortable. I work from home, sitting at my desk all day in front of a computer. I had fibroid cysts before I had a hysterectomy. My parents were both roly-polies too, so it’s in my genes. My metabolism is slower than others. It’s too (dark, cold, windy, wet… fill in the blank) to exercise at the moment! I’ve heard myself say all of those things at some time or another. Truth be told, I’m lazy and I like to eat what I want to eat and when I want to eat it!
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2
But these past few years I have been hungry for other things, for God things. I am beginning to feel more and more like Paul, wanting to set aside every weight so I can run the race, so I can be one that produces 100 fold fruit and not just 60 or 30. I want the Lord to have all of me! Could God pick me up and place me in any culture, any society, under any circumstance, and I still worship Him? Do I know Him well enough that my faith transcends everything physical? Am I one who worships in spirit and in truth? Or am I so spoiled by physical appetite for the things of this world that I have no room left over for the things of God?
In case you asked yourself that question, too, and felt a desire to answer YES in response to the Heavenly dinner bell, here is a small tidbit about fasting that might help. One of several purposes for fasting is to learn how to say no the physical appetite – keeping it at bay – so it does not control you and keep you from experiencing all that God has for you.
Remember how Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of stew? Fasting helps to create a hunger in us for something bigger than just the “bread” we eat. Fasting sets us up so that we are free to be Holy, as God is Holy – and OOOOH let me tell you, if you truly begin to understand what that really means for you, and comprehend all the beauty, wholeness, peace, purpose, goodness, love, and contentment that comes from it, you will so desire it! Fasting not only helps us to see all of that, but it also helps us to remove the stumbling blocks and added weights that keep us from running the race. And fasting helps to correct our perspective so that we can see the lavish meal that God has spread out before us, if we will just partake!
4 thoughts on “Open Wide!”
Your blogs keep getting better and better! Thank you for getting us to think about the benefits of fasting but also how He is our Bread that sustains us. He is our daily “Mana”. He is all that we need for life!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m glad to hear it resonates. It’s part of my new book on Manna 😄
Speaking of manna, Keith Green had some interesting thoughts about it, too:
LikeLiked by 1 person
He sure did!! 🤗❤️ I’m in the process of writing a book I’m calling BaMANNA Bread (got the title from the comments he made in that very song 😄). God is still into Manna (I am the bread of life) 👏 Thanks for sharing the song, it’s timeless
LikeLiked by 1 person