Thought for the Week - 10th JulyPastor Gareth Watkins
There’s chaos in our country and all around us. It’s time for us to take responsibility for what God has given us! He has told us to fast and pray.
In the verse above, we read the word “humble”. How do we humble ourselves before God? One way is to fast. We deny ourselves something we want. It’s not natural to us – our minds and our bodies want us to eat. The act itself will be opposed, where our own minds will argue against us about us fasting.
But if we humble ourselves and fast, God will forgive our sins, and heal our towns and nations!
Moses fasted and prayed before he received the Ten Commandments. David fasted because of his sin with Bathsheba. Elijah the prophet had to fast and pray to get out of a deep depression. Ezra, Esther and Daniel fasted. Jesus fasted before His temptation in the desert. After Christ, Paul fasted. The elders in Acts fasted for direction. Fasting isn’t just for the Old Testament; it’s for the New Testament and for today!
There’s insecurity all around us – wars, fighting, political uncertainty, refugees stranded without homes, economic uncertainty – the church is also in crisis. It’s time for us to pray for these things.
We need our land to be healed. We are called to pray for our leaders! A change will come. We can have an impact on the things that surround us – we are not helpless! We want to have God’s outcome, not man’s outcome.
Jonah 3: 1-7
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,
“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”
So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.
And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.
Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.
And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles…
Jonah didn’t have a popular or nice thing to do. Indeed, the first time he was asked by God, he ran away. Ninevah was 60 miles in length and had walls 100 feet high! The kings of Assyria were known to be a nasty people, with sins of violence. Jonah was called to go to this massive place, talk to these cruel people, and proclaim God’s message that they were to be overthrown. It must have been challenging for Jonah. Yet he had to do his part.
Jonah wasn’t a special man. He wasn’t an ambassador or diplomat… he was a man called by God. Even today, to go to the Middle East and proclaim a message from our God would be a terrifying thing. Back then, it would have been even more so! Yet the people believed, and the city wasn’t destroyed!
The city was eventually destroyed two hundred years later. However, what a difference when it’s people believed in God, humbled themselves and fasted! The atmosphere changed and we read that God “relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it”.
Can we see that one man, in obedience, can change a whole city and nation? It’s one normal man who is given the Word of God. Fasting and praying unleashed a mighty work of God! If people humble themselves and pray, God will come in and heal the land.