by Alice Keen
God wants everyone in the world to have enough to eat and to be able to choose to fast or feast as part of their worship of him.
Fasting is choosing to go without food or drink for a specific period of time. It is not the same as being hungry because of a lack of food, it is chosen freely. Throughout the Bible, God's people practise fasting to seek his face and become more dependent on him.
Read Matthew 6:16-18
- Who are the hypocrites trying to impress by fasting?
- According to the passage, what is the right attitude to fasting?
- Have you seen the benefits of fasting? Share your experiences with the group.
Read Isaiah 58:1-12
- In this passage, what is wrong with the way that the Israelites are fasting?
- What does God say 'true fasting' involves?
- What do you think it means to 'spend yourself on behalf of the hungry'? (verse 10)
Feasting is celebrating with food. It is a time when we enjoy the abundance of God's provision for us together with others. There are many examples of feasting in the Bible, from Abraham's feast to celebrate Isaac being weaned, to the wedding supper of the Lamb when Jesus returns.
Read Luke 15:11-31 - The Parable of the Lost Son
- How does the father celebrate his son's return? (verses 22-24)
- How does the older brother respond to the invitation to join the feast?
- Think about a time when you have felt angry or jealous at someone else's success. What does the passage show you about celebrating God's blessing in the lives of others?
Read Isaiah 25:6-9
In this passage prophet Isaiah is looking forward to a time when God's people from all nations will celebrate a feast with him.
- Who is preparing the feast, and for whom?
- What is the feast celebrating?
- What can you celebrate in your family, community or country today? Thank God for these things.