January 1, 2014

The One Big Thing you Don’t Know About the “Daniel Fast”

Does scripture command "Christians" to fast? No.

Does God require or demand it of "Christians?" No again.

At the same time, the Bible presents fasting as something that is a choice, something good, profitable, and beneficial.

The book of Acts records believers fasting before they made important decisions. (Acts 13:2;14:23). This was customary among devout Jews of that period. In those days, fasting and prayer were often linked together (Luke 2:37;5:33).

Many Christians know that a “Daniel Fast” is eating only fruits and vegetables for a certain amount of time, and abstaining from meat products. 

Many Christians use a Daniel fast as a dieting method. Then, there are some who go through a “Daniel fast”, instead of fasting from food entirely. 

The concept of a "Daniel Fast" comes from Daniel 1:8-14. Unfortunately, for many, a "Daniel Fast" has not only become an annual tradition, but a fad rather than a demonstration to God, and to ourselves, that we are serious about our relationship with Him.

The purpose of fasting should be to take your eyes off the things of this world, and to focus completely on God. Even more, fasting helps us gain a new perspective and a renewed reliance upon Him.

The beginning of each year marks the season many in the "Black Church" will begin their annual 21- day "Daniel Fast". But did you know that Daniel was not really fasting? 

Here is the one big thing you may not know about the “Daniel Fast”:
  • Daniel was not fasting, in chapter 1:8-14. If we read this chapter carefully, we discover that he simply did not want to eat goods that would be non-kosher to the Jewish people.

  • Daniel, and his three friends had been deported to Babylon, when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians conquered Judah (2 Kings 24:13-14).

    They were put into the Babylonian court servant “training program.” This program required learning Babylonian customs, beliefs, laws, and practices.

  • The eating habits of the Babylonians were not in complete agreement with Jewish Law. So, Daniel asked if he and his three friends could be excused from eating the meat (which was likely sacrificed to Babylonian false gods and idols).

  • The actual fasting by Daniel did not take place until Daniel chapter 9, as a plea to God to forgive the sins of the Jewish people, and to free Jerusalem from seventy years captivity.

  • Daniel chapter 1 and chapter 9, were two totally separate events.
As a teacher of the gospel, I would suggest that like anything, we follow the instructions of the apostle Paul in Romans 14:5. Before you fast, know why you're fasting. Then be committed to it and follow through.

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