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Fasting Day 6: On the Attack

Are you discouraged in your fast? Do things seem to be getting worse instead of better?

You are not alone—Samuel and the Israelites had a similar experience while they gathered together in a fast. If you don’t yet know the end of this story, I think you’ll be encouraged. What God did for them, He will do for you.

God called Samuel as a young boy to lead Israel. Before he became a man, Israel sinned by taking the Ark of the Covenant into battle as a good luck charm. For this offense, God allowed the Philistines to defeat Israel.  Not only did they defeat Israel, they took the Ark of the Covenant as plunder. The Philistines lorded their victory over the Israel, returning each year to demand heavy taxes of them.

Samuel was a prophet, priest and the last judge to lead Israel before the nation chose a king. Samuel united the nation, led them into revival and inspired Israel’s army to fight against their enemies that were pillaging the nation.

National revival resulted from Samuel’s leadership and the fast that he called. Tomorrow, part two of this post will center on the result of the Samuel fast: personal and national revival. But today the Holy Spirit is leading me to center on what took place during their fast—what is most likely taking place during yours.

Putting Away Baals and Ashtoreths

Because God brought plagues upon the Philistines, they grew anxious to unload the Ark of the Covenant. It was eventually returned to Beth Shemesh, then to Kiriath Jearim.

It was a long time, twenty years in all, that the ark remained at Kiriath Jearim, and all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD” (I Samuel 7:2 NIV).

Israel lamented after God and Samuel called an assembly at Mizpah.

3And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, ‘If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’ 4So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only. (v. 3-4 NIV)

No doubt, if you’re fasting, you have done the same thing. You have mourned over complacency in your life and chosen to seek God diligently. You have consciously decided to rid yourself of the worship of anything else but God.

The rites connected with worship of Ashtoreths usually involved sacred prostitution, as Ashtoreths was the name of the Canaanite goddess of fertility, sexuality and war. Sexual rituals in the Canaanite temples were designed to prompt the gods to make the earth fertile. In our attempt to make our own lives, our businesses, our families, our ministries “fertile,” we essentially prostitute our worship to false gods. We seek an edge on the day by vacating our morning prayer and devotion. We perform Christian acts out of impure motives, pride and a desire to be exalted, to impress others. We worship money, success, prestige, reputation, religion, possessions, entertainment and pleasure… all in an attempt to make our lives falsely fertile.

Unhappy About Lost Control

Through fasting and prayer, you have chosen to dethrone King Stomach and cease catering to and worshiping temporal appetites and gods. You have chosen, just as the Israelites did, to acknowledge your sin, repent and draw near to God.

5Then Samuel said, ‘Assemble all Israel at Mizpah and I will intercede with the LORD for you.’ 6…On that day they fasted and there they confessed, ‘We have sinned against the LORD. (v. 5-6 NIV)

The enemy is not happy about you vacating his control—no more than the Philistines congratulated the Israelites on their fast. Notice what happened as the Israelites were fasting and seeking God:

7 When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. And when the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. (v. 7 NIV)

When the Philistines heard about the revival taking place in Israel—that they were gathered at Mizpah to seek God and fast—they attacked them.  The Message says it this way:

“When the Philistines heard that Israel was meeting at Mizpah, the Philistine leaders went on the offensive”  (v. 7, The Message)

Don’t Be Surprised by Their Offensive

Don’t be surprised when spiritual forces of darkness go on the offensive because of your fast. Fasting sets spiritual forces in motion. Think of Daniel and the spiritual battle that took place in the Heavenlies as he fasted. The first day he began to fast, Daniel’s prayer was heard and an angel was sent from Heaven with Daniel’s answer—but the Prince of Persia battled fiercely, detaining the angel until Michael came to help.

Fasting puts the power of God at work and it agitates Satan and demon spirits. Do NOT expect them to congratulate you on your fast! You will hear them whisper things such as:

  • “It’s not working. Nothing is happening. It’s a waste.”
  • “You’re too tired. You have too much responsibility to compromise your strength right now.”
  • “You’re going to die. Doing without food is going to kill you. Don’t you feel how sick you already are?”
  • “Your situation is beyond hope anyway. You’ll never get a breakthrough. You don’t feel anything different, do you? See there – it’s not working.”

If not through gentle whispers, demonic forces may come after you through discouraging, frustrating events. Opposition and hopelessness may confront you at every turn.

The Israelites were somewhat surprised by the attack of the Philistines. When their enemy went on the offensive, “Israel got the report and became frightened—Philistines on the move again!” (The Message)

Beloved, there is no need to be caught off guard and become alarmed and afraid. You have the example of what God did for the Israelites… and what He will do for you.

The LORD Thundered with Loud Thunder

A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I met to pray at an all-night prayer meeting on Friday night. (My friends are the wonderful people who led worship at the Concert of Prayer—what a godly worship team!) In light of the fact their church was about to launch a 21-day fast and Shades of Grace was about to launch Pursuit 21, we began interceding in advance for those who would be fasting.  As we prayed, the Holy Spirit led me to this passage about the Samuel fast.

Today, as I received phone call messages and emails from people encountering opposition and discouraging circumstances in their fast, the Holy Spirit again brought this passage to mind. The close of this passage was my prayer for you two weeks ago, and it is my prayer for you today:

10While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the LORD thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way…” (v. 10-11, NIV).

Jehovah thundered from heaven! Not with mediocre thunder, but with loud thunder, throwing Israel’s enemies into absolute panic!  Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. What He did for the Israelites, He will do for you:

“But the LORD answered [Samuel’s] prayer and made thunder crash all around [the enemy]. The Philistines panicked and ran away” (v. 10 CEV).

The Israelites didn’t just stand and watch; they seized the turn in their favor.

“The Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven, and they were thrown into confusion, and the Israelis routed them, and chased them… killing them all along the way” (v. 10 TLB).

They were so glad God intervened that they jumped on the chance to do damage to the enemy. They finally had an edge over these long-time oppressors!

God gave the victory; the Israelites received it. Receiving victory doesn’t always mean sitting still and watching God work. Sometimes it means letting God work and war through you.

Help Monument

What Samuel did after God gave the victory is absolutely beautiful:

12Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying “Thus far has the LORD helped us.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and did not invade Israelite territory again (v. 12-13, NIV).

Samuel set up a monument and he named it “‘Help Monument’ to remind Israel how much the LORD had helped them” (v 12 CEV).

Five Action Steps

Considering First Samuel chapter 7, I believe we are advised to do the following five things when we fast:

  1. Samuel prayed and offered a sacrifice to God.Make time to pray, read the Word and offer a sacrifice of praise as you fast. You are sacrificing food, but without the sacrifice of time in prayer, praise and the Word, victory is not assured.
  2. As Samuel was praying for Israel, they prepared to fight the Philistines.Put on your spiritual armor and be prepared to fight!
  3. Soldiers were checking gear, picking up armor and mustering courage… never expecting what was to come next. God saw the hearts of his people and began answering even as they prepared to fight.Expect supernatural intervention! Start listening for thunder claps from the LORD!!
  4. As God threw the Philistines into confusion, the Israelites pursued them aggressively, killing them all along the way.—Don’t settle for partial victory.
  5. Samuel set up a reminder of God’s help.Establish a reminder of God’s help and victory. You might want to revisit it sometime in the future to remind you of what God will do for you again!

In Closing

The Message Bible puts this all together in the neatest wording:

While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines came within range to fight Israel. Just then GOD thundered, a huge thunderclap exploding among the Philistines. They panicked—mass confusion!—and ran helter-skelter from Israel. Israel poured out of Mizpah and gave chase, killing Philistines right and left… Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where GOD helped us.” The Philistines stayed home—no more border crossings. God was hard on the Philistines all through Samuel’s lifetime. All the cities from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored. Israel also freed the surrounding country-side from Philistine control. (The Message)

Beloved, before this is all over, you will have made a stone of remembrance, a reminder of your Rock of Help. God will be hard on the enemy as you continue to serve Him faithfully through giving, praying and fasting. Ground the enemy has taken will be restored, and the lives of those surrounding you will be affected by your victory.  It’s coming. You may have just heard the army approaching, but God will have the last word.

Question: Do you hear the enemy drawing near to engage in battle, or has the thunder started to roll?

 

Part Two Regarding National and Personal Revival:

FROM THE FASTING ARCHIVES:

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Shades of Grace will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

5 Responses to “Fasting Day 6: On the Attack”

  1. Kettelaine Doxy says:

    I went from being an exotic dancer to going to church by my friend invitation. till now in fasten this good call on the holy spirit

  2. Bennedict Otrelia says:

    I bless the name of the Living God for leading me to see this post. Satanic forces have been attacking me very intensely through the means of blaspheming God inside of my heart. I don't normally curse people, let alone God. But since I started my fasting a week ago every time I go any where near the bible, or when I am trying to pray there is this cursing word inside of my heart towards God. I have prayed and commanded this spirit of blasphemy to depart but every few hours I keep hearing the same cursing words and messages. Just about an hour ago 8:45 pm ( 29 May 2015) I got on my knees in prayer to ask God what is this? The answer I got inside of my heart from God is "it is designed to break you". Thank God for letting me understand that I am in a middle of warfare and that he is always there with me.

  3. Elizabeth Muthoni says:

    Am on Day 37 of my 40 day fast and I can assure you it has been one battle after another. But after reading this post am glad I held on despite all the turmoil. My emotions have been all over the place but I thank Jesus I held on. My victory is coming am listening for the Thunder of God

  4. Tope says:

    Hallelujah praise thy lord…..

  5. Joshua says:

    Thank you for the encouragement…… I am on 21 days fasting, I have five days to end the fasting, but I started encountering bad dream and demonic encounter as I sleep… .i know the enemies is trying to get closer, but will make a thunderous blast against the enemies

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