We don’t hear much about fasting today except in the context of people attempting to cleanse their bodies of impurities or to lose weight. But, aside from those good physical reasons to abstain from eating, there are at least seven reasons why we ought to fast.
Do you remember the 507thMaintenance Company and it’s infamous soldier—PFC Jessica Lynch? She was badly hurt, the sole survivor in her Humvee which crashed into a disabled truck attempting to escape an ambush. Lynch did not fight the enemy as the media first reported. But another fellow soldier did—PFC Patrick Miller. He won the Silver Star for his valiant efforts and a Purple Heart. Miller was fortunate to have survived and later as a captive to be rescued by a Marine patrol. You see he and those who could fight almost all experienced jammed weapons. Their rifles barely worked because they rarely cleaned and maintained them. It had been seven months since Miller last fired his M16! Evidently, the soldiers of the 507th took their weapons for granted. Their primary job was to repair and maintain equipment in the rear. They did not expect to be involved in any fighting.
Our neighbors have a new puppy, Sadie. She is a lovable Pit Bull full of energy and eager for attention. To keep her from getting lost or running away, it was necessary to finish fencing in their yard. So, with help from family members, holes were dug, cement was poured, and metal posts for a chain-link fence were sealed into the ground. That fence is not going anywhere; Sadie is quite secure.
Climbing the staircase to LTC Mark Armstrong’s office one cannot help but notice the words painted between steps: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity and Personal courage. These are seven key values the Army seeks to instill in all its soldiers. They are values that Mark takes seriously as the Battalion Commander of the 1st Battalion of the 46th Infantry.
Isaiah 58:3-9--“Why have we fasted, but You have not seen? We have denied ourselves, but You haven’t noticed!”
“Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast, and oppress all your workers. You fast with contention and strife to strike viciously with your fist. You cannot fast as you do today, hoping to make your voice heard on high. Will the fast I choose be like this: A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed,
and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord? Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignoreyour own flesh and blood? Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard. At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer; when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you get rid of the yoke among you, the finger-pointing and malicious speaking.