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FASTING FOR REPENTANCE
by Rick Sutherland
Ninevah was a city of Assyria, a pagan Gentile nation that had caused much havoc and destruction to the Israel. They were Israel’s enemies. Yet as wicked as they were, when Jonah finally obeyed and preached to them that in 40 days their city would be overthrown, the king immediately responded by proclaiming a total fast for everyone from royalty on down, including even their animals! They were not to eat food nor drink water, and they all repented of their evil ways. And God decided not to destroy them.
I doubt that there is any true Believer in America who doesn’t realize that our great country is caught in the throes of evil and is headed quickly in the wrong direction. I wonder, if God sent a message through a prophet to us today that in 40 days our country would be destroyed, how would we respond? Many would no doubt be in an absolute panic, many would try to cram as much pleasure as they could into those 40 days, chaos might even erupt in the streets, others might fall into deep depression and Christians would no doubt finally find time to be in church. But would we as believers be willing to seriously fast, pray and repent of our sins and the sins of our nation?
Though God hasn’t told us that we have just 40 days until destruction, but He has given us a promise in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” That is a conditional promise given to God’s people! Though the unbelievers may not fall on their knees and repent, God says if WE will humble ourselves—which often meant fasting in the Bible—and if we repent of our sins, then He will hear from heaven and heal our land. As we continue this time of fasting before Easter, let’s call on God and allow God to show us anything that we ourselves need to repent of and then add confession of the sins of our nation. He will be faithful to his promise if we will be obedient to humbly seek Him.