By Darlene Franklin
“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?”Isaiah 58:6
Political prisoner Terence MacSwiney conducted the longest fast on record. He last seventy-four days before he died. Mahatma Gandhi fasted seventeen times during India’s struggle to freedom, one time for as long as twenty-one days.
People have abstained from food in pursuit of a higher goal since ancient times. Jesus Himself fasted for forty days during His temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).
God honors a fast—as long as the sole purpose isn’t for show. It’s more like Lent, when Christians focus on a particular sin or behavior to abstain from. But even that’s not quite right.
A fast isn’t meant to be inward, but outward. In descriptive language, God tells us to “untie the yokes” of people held in slavery. We’re to free the oppressed and stand up for those overwhelmed by unfair lawsuits.
If we hold any authority over others, we’re to treat them fairly. If we see someone enslaved to abuse or injustice, we’re to do all we can to help.
How do we know how and how much? We seek God’s wisdom. But God wants us to hold the mindset—what can I do for you?
The greatest oppression mankind faces is the yoke of sin. Neither side can be neglected –their physical well-being or their need of salvation. God’s liberators focus on both.
Darlene Franklin, a contributor to Wholly Loved’s devotional project, is a best-selling author of fiction and nonfiction works. Her claim to fame is that she continues to write from a nursing home. She keeps going because God keeps giving her more assignments. She’s written more than fifty-five fiction and nonfiction books, including Pray Through the Bible in a Year and of Cash and Cats in Love Comes on Kitten Paws. Check out a complete list of her books on Amazon and keep up with her online at http://www.facebook.com/DarleneFranklinfun/.
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Originally published Wednesday, 22 February 2023.