Rabbi Schneider - How Fasting Can Free You
Today I'm continuing in a very special and anointed series entitled, "Fasting For the Kingdom of God". Now if you didn't hear the last weeks message, or the last message in this series, I really want to encourage you to get it. There will be information at the end of the broadcast as to how you can get this entire series, because I really laid the foundation beloved one, for this series, by talking about an experience I had in my own life. I had been unable to fast. I had tried several times, but didn't last long at all. But the Lord supernaturally came to me in a vision of the night and through that encounter I was able to successfully go on a long fast after that.
So I need you to get the first episode in the series, because I think it will empower many of you that have never been motivated to fast or never have been able to successfully fast. I believe that by listening to my experience and the truths that the Spirit taught me through it, you will then also receive an impartation to be able to go on a fast yourself. Now listen, I don't want to scare anybody off today, because different people are at different places in their life and God is calling each one of us to do something different. The Hebrew word for fast is tsum and it means to abstain. Generally speaking it means to abstain from food.
Now when we read of the different types of fast in scripture there are many different types of fast. Most fast beloved, do involve water, but not food. There are exceptions to this. For example, Moses when he was on Mount Sinai without water and food. But most fast that we're dealing with in terms of relating the principle of fasting to food, to our diet, include the drinking of water, but prohibiting eating of food. There are different lengths of time and God, the Spirit of the Lord will speak to each one of us differently as to how He's leading us at this point in our life to apply the principle.
But here's what I need you to understand, there's a reward for those that fast. In fact one of the greatest rewards involved is that fasting for the kingdom, fasting because we want to be drawn closer in our relationship with the Lord, fasting produces spiritual results that causes us to become more supernaturally aware of the Lord's presence in our life. For example we read in the book of Mark chapter two verse eighteen through twenty these words. Hear the word of God. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord abides forever. Hear the word. "John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And they came and said to him, 'Why did John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?' And Yeshua said to them, 'While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day'".
What's happening here? This is very foundational. This is pivotal to our understanding of this principle of fasting and it's also extremely important so that we can find the motivation to fast. Here's what Jesus was saying, "Listen, My disciples are not fasting right now," Jesus was saying, "Because I am with them. The attendants of the bridegroom don't fast when the bridegrooms with them, do they"? But Jesus said, "But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away and then they will fast". In other words Jesus was saying this, "There's no reason for My people to be fasting when I'm standing in their midst". But Jesus said, "When I'm taken away from them then they'll fast".
Why would His followers fast when He was taken away? They would fast beloved, because they were hungry for a greater sense of His presence, of having intimacy in their lives with Him. In other words, when Jesus was right there they could put their arm around Him, touch Him, feel Him, see Him. There was no reason for them to fast. But once Jesus ascended to heaven and we were totally dependent upon the Spirit to experience God's intimacy, Jesus said then we will fast. Jesus expected His followers to fast. The point is, is that when we fast the natural for the sake of receiving more of the supernatural, we're brought into a greater sense of closeness to God and that alone is a reward that should be enough.
Fasting strengthens the spirit man. It strengthens us in the realm of walking in the fullness of the Spirit, so we can experience the supernatural presence of King Jesus in our lives in a greater way. There's a benefit to fasting. Father promised a reward to those who fast and the greatest reward of all is the reward of Jesus Himself. I want you to hear this, when we abstain from food or other areas in our life that the Lord may lead us to abstain from, maybe for you it's the internet, maybe it's television, maybe it's music. Whatever it is, you abstain from something in the natural for the purpose of coming closer to God. There's a reward for you and the greatest reward of all is the reward of a greater manifestation of the presence of the Lord's love in your life.
I want you to also hear this, when we strengthen our spirit man by resisting the impulses of the natural; In other words, we say no to the natural, whether it's food, whether it's the internet, whether it's Facebook, whether it's sweets, if we abstain from something in the natural world solely for the purpose of saying to God, "Father I love You and I'm abstaining from this thing. I'm fasting from this thing, because I want to feel closer to You". What happens as a result of that beloved one, is that your spirit man gets more engaged in the Holy Spirit and you become strengthened. This is why as I pointed out last week, the scripture says right after Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, as He came out of the river, heard the Father speaking to Him, saying, "You're My beloved Son and in You I'm well pleased".
Immediately after that incident the Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord led Jesus into the wilderness where He fasted for forty days. I want you to think about this. You have to understand this was not by accident. I really want you to get this. This was part of God's divine design, the Father's architecture for Jesus' life. There was a reason for it, a very important reason for it. Do you think it was half hazard that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to fast for forty days before He did His first miracle? No. Him being led into the wilderness by the Spirit right after His baptism, was because it was in the wilderness as He was fasting that He was being prepared for His ministry.
The scripture says He was led into the wilderness where He fasted for forty days by the Spirit. But after He had fasted for those forty days, listen now, He came out of the wilderness, the Bible says, in the power of the Ruach Hakodesh, in the power of the Spirit. Through resisting the devil and through resisting the natural in the wilderness, like when the devil said, "Turn the stones into bread". And Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God".
Through resisting the devil and the natural, the bread, the Spirit of Jesus was so built up in the Holy Spirit that by the time He came out of that experience He was able to operate in signs and wonders and miracles and proclaim the Gospel so that the entire world has now heard it. I want you to hear me beloved, when Jesus entered the world He walked through this earth, listen now, not as God and all His rights. But rather He walked through the world as a man that depended on the Holy Spirit.
Let me say that again. I want you to be very clear about what I'm saying. Jesus is God in the flesh, but when Jesus walked on the earth two thousand years ago He emptied Himself of all His divine rights. And what He did on earth in terms of the miracles He did not as God, but He did it beloved, as a man that was depending on the Holy Spirit. Don't misunderstand, He was more than just a man, but he operated in miracles through depending on the Spirit. The Bible says in the book of Philippians that although Jesus existed in the form of God, He counted equality with God not a thing to be grasped. But instead the Bible says, He emptied out Himself to become a bond servant.
So in other words, as Jesus walked on the earth He did it totally in dependency on the Ruach Hakodesh, on the Holy Spirit. That is the reason He was led into the wilderness, so He could be completely broken and become totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. And following this incident beloved, of the fasting forty days, incredible signs, wonders, miracles and the proclamation of the Gospel took place through the God man, Christ Jesus. I want to read the account to you now from the book of Matthew chapter four verse one and two. "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit unto the wilderness, or into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil". And listen verse two, "And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights He became hungry".
It's interesting here that we don't see anything about Jesus' fasting water here. We see that He only fasted from food. And so it's interesting that Jesus in this account it appears drank water, but He ate no food. Now I'm gonna go backward just for a second, because I just don't want anybody to misunderstand me. When I say that Jesus didn't do the miracles as God I'm not saying that Jesus isn't the Son of God. I'm just saying He operated in the world not through depending on His rights as God, but that He operated in the world as one that was totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. And fasting is what prepared Him for this and fasting brought Him to another level of depending on the Holy Spirit, so that the power of God could be so fully manifest from His life.
You know what's a really beautiful illustration of these same truths of how fasting opens up the windows of heavens for us in the spirit, is the example of the Tanakh, the example from the Torah of Moses. Do you know beloved ones, that when Moses received the revelation that now composes what we call in Judaism the Torah or the first five books of the Old Testament, do you know that Moses received that revelation when He was fasting on top of Mount Sinai? I'm gonna read that incident for you now in the book of Exodus chapter number thirty four, verse twenty eight and twenty nine. I want you to notice here that it was while Moses was on top of Mount Sinai, where he was fasting for forty days and forty nights, that the Spirit of the Lord opened up to him the revelation that became for us the Old Testament or the Torah. Hear the word of God. Beginning in verse number twenty eight. "So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He did not eat bread or drink water".
In this instance we see that Moses didn't eat or drink. "And he wrote on the tablets the word of the covenant, the ten commandments. It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses hand as he was coming down from the mountain, that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shown because of his speaking with him," meaning God. In other words, Moses was so saturated in the glory of God as he was fasting there for forty days and forty nights that literally his skin was glowing. I don't know about you, but I've actually seen this on people before, you have too probably.
In other words, how many times do you look at somebody and when they're full of God's presence, when they're full of joy, when they're full of divine energy and divine light, they're glowing. I mean there's like a supernatural beauty on them, a supernatural color. Yet that same person if they're thinking thoughts of fear, or worry, or hopelessness, they look totally different. You know what I'm talking about? The energy within a person totally changes the way they look. Moses was so full of the power of God's Spirit he was literally glowing, his face was shining. I've noticed even myself, watching myself on television.
I remember several years ago the studio here was filming me sharing my testimony and as I was sitting down on the couch beginning to tell my life story I began by talking about my life going back to my young days before I knew the Lord. And as I sat down on the couch and began beloved ones, to tell my story and talk about when I was in high school and so on and so forth, the time that I didn't know Jesus. I really looked old. You could see bags under my eyes. There was no life in me, nothing glowing. I just looked kind of haggard. But what happened was as I kept on telling my testimony, finally I got to the point about Jesus. And when I talked about how Jesus came to me supernaturally in a vision in 1978 and revealed Himself to me supernaturally in the middle of the night, I got excited.
Suddenly my face which had just a few moments ago looked drawn out and tired and aged and haggard, suddenly it was like my face came to life. All of a sudden my skin looked younger. There was a new color in my eyes. There was a power on me and a glory on me. It looked like I was ten years younger. Why? Because the power of God's Spirit was now showing and glowing and emanating through my life. And so we are dependent on the Holy Spirit for life. Jesus said, "In Him was life and His life and His light is the light of men". Fasting helps us receive more of the life of Jesus. That's why Jesus said, "When the bridegroom is taken away then my disciples will fast". Because now we're dependent on the Spirit.
When Jesus' disciples were with Him two thousand years ago, they were partially depending just on the physical proximity of Jesus. They could touch Him. Remember John at the Lord's Supper, at the last supper, He leaned His head on Jesus' bosom. That's how close they felt. But now that Jesus is not here physically the only way we can feel connected to Him is in the Spirit. And when we fast from the natural in order to become closer to the Lord in the supernatural, through the Spirit, what happens is increase is imparted, strength is imparted, fullness is imparted into our soul through the Ruach Hakodesh, through God's Spirit.
You see the Lord promises you a reward if you'll fast. I want to read this for you now from the book of Matthew chapter six, verse sixteen through eighteen. Hear the word of God beloved one. "Whenever you fast do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they'll be noticed by men when they are fasting". I first want to point out the few words that we began with here in verse number sixteen. Listen what Jesus says, "Whenever you fast". He didn't say, "If you fast". He didn't say, "For those that will fast". He didn't say, "For the few that fast". It seems to be an assumption here that fasting would be part of the culture of the kingdom. And so He's saying to His disciples here, "Whenever you fast".
I believe that we can receive that as being fasting is for you and I. Now I'm gonna share with you on next week's broadcast how to fast. So you're not gonna want to miss it. I'm gonna give it to you in a way that you can digest. You don't have to be afraid of going on a forty day fast. I'm gonna give you nuggets so that you can immediately begin to apply this principle to your life. Jesus said, "Whenever you fast do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so they'll be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, "They have their reward in full, but you when you fast anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you".
You see my friend there's a reward to those who will fast. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added unto you". We must believe that God is and that He's a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. I'm here to tell you today beloved, that if you will deny the flesh to receive more of the Spirit, God will not only cause His presence to be more keenly felt in your life, but you will be rewarded by the presence of Jesus Himself.