Scripture describes times where God was moved by fasting. So much so, instead of sending judgment, He granted mercy. One such account involved King Ahab. “(There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)” (1 Kings 21:25-26)
Yet, when the Prophet Elijah delivered a message from God to Ahab, of His anger and the calamity to come, Ahab tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted (1 Kings 21:27).
When he did, God noticed how he had humbled himself before Him, and because Ahab humbled himself, God did not send the disaster upon him (1 Kings 21:28).
Even the most wretched of sinners can move the heart of God to receive mercy, by humbling themselves through fasting.
Another remarkable story is found in Jonah 1:1-2, where God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against it because of its wickedness before God. Unlike his previous experience where he ran away and ended up inside a whale, this time he obeyed. Jonah preached of the coming judgment to the city of Nineveh (Jonah 3:4), to which they responded from the greatest to the least, by believing God, fasting, and putting on sackcloth (Jonah 3:5).
As the story goes, “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened” (Jonah 3:10).
What a compassionate, merciful God You are. All Your ways are perfect.
Lord, we come before You to humble ourselves at Your feet, asking You to bring mercy where judgment has been earned. We are deeply sorry for allowing our hearts to be led astray by our own desires and the things of the world, for the ways we have turned away from You, and sinned against You and You alone.
Although we have been disobedient and our sinfulness deserves punishment, You forgive and pardon those who humble themselves before You. Where judgment is warranted, You give mercy.
Forgive us Lord and be merciful to us. Soften our hearts, God, to be tender towards You, to seek your face, and to long for your presence in our lives.
In Jesus name,
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