Does יהוה command us to fast in His Holy Scriptures?
The short answer to this question is No.
Do you know when the people (Yisrael) fasted for the first time?
Since the giving of the Torah [Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy] up to Zechariah, Scripture orders to keep the commandments <that it may be well with us>. In addition, there was a time in the history of Israel in which the people started going to war among themselves.
Deuteronomy 28:25 25 “יהוה causes you to be defeated before your enemies – you go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall become a horror to all the reigns of the earth.
The Eternal did not require fasting as a way to get closer to Him. The people did it on their own accord as if looking for a way for יהוה to take pity on them.
Judges 20:26 26 And all the children of Yisra’el, even all the people, went up and came to Beyth el and wept, and sat there before יהוה and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before יהוה.
This is the first fast of the Scriptures. Look at previous verses:
Judges 20:19-20 19 And the children of Yisra’el rose in the morning and encamped against Gibʽah. 20 And the men of Yisra’el went out to battle against Binyamin, and the men of Yisra’el put themselves in battle array to fight against them at Gibʽah.
There is a fight between the Tribes of Yisra’el. Why? It was because of disobedience to the Torah.
This is why we understand when Isaiah says:
Isaiah 58:4 4 “Look, you fast for strife and contention, and to strike with the fist of wrongness. You do not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high.
The Eternal is clear when He declares:
Isaiah 58:5-10 5 “Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his being? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to יהוה 6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loosen the tight cords of wrongness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to exempt the oppressed, and to break off every yoke? 7 “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, and cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 “Then your light would break forth like the morning, your healing spring forth speedily. And your righteousness shall go before you, the esteem of יהוה would be your rear guard. 9 “Then, when you call, יהוה would answer; when you cry, He would say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and the speaking of unrighteousness, 10 if you extend your being to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted being, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness be as noon.
Depriving ourselves is the fast that pleases יהוה. There are those who want to join the fast of the House of Judah…but we choose the best option, Yahweh’s option – Isaiah 58:6-7. If someone, in their heart, wishes to abstain from food and drink, it is not wrong to do so. The point is not to see it as if the Eternal ordered it, the point is not to see it as a commandment of the Torah, or that יהוה will listen more or better. Let us always remember: THE ETERNAL TAKES PLEASURE IN OBEDIENCE. So if we fast according to the Eternal’s demands – Isaiah 58:6-7, we obey Him.
[Translated by Nazarene Notes]
Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are taken from The Scriptures,
Copyright by Institute for Scripture Research.
Used by permission.