Monday, April 4, 2011

Heart Work

2 Samuel 12:1-22

I am now in my fourth week of studying about fasting, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface.  The first two weeks led me to look at the fact that unless our hearts are truly seeking what God desires, there is no point in fasting.  God wants us to be serving Him by serving others.  Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  Knowing that we are serving Christ puts our hearts in the right place and He enables us to do what He calls us to do.  My new memory verse is 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 which says, "It is not that we think we are qualified on our own.  Our qualification comes from God.  He has enable us to be ministers of the new covenant."  Last week, I looked at how people sometimes fast to confess their sins either corporately or individually.  Today, I want to look at how sometimes people fast when they are pleading with God.  The story I am looking at today is a bit harsh, but it does give us an example of fasting to plead with God.  Please look up 2 Samuel 12:1-22.

I would like to provide a little history of this story.  David was not keeping himself busy working for God, which allowed him to notice Bathsheba bathing.  He called her to the palace and slept with her and she became pregnant with his child.  David decided that the best way to handle the situation was to have her husband killed in battle.  2 Samuel 12 starts with the prophet Nathan confronting David.  He tells David that his son was going to die.  David's response was to fast and plead before God to stop this from happening.  Picture the king of Israel on the floor of the palace in sackcloth fasting and pleading with God.  After seven days of fasting, the baby died and David ended his fast.

We see in this situation that God had different plans than what David wanted and no matter how desperately he fasted and prayed, God was going to follow through on His plans.  God gives us the opportunity to ask and I believe He enjoys giving; however, there are times when the answer is going to be no.  We may never understand why God didn't change His mind in this case when David was so desperate and had confessed his sin and God changed His mind when He heard the city of Nineveh confess.  But I also believe that David was not praying in vain either.  I can't help but think that the fasting and praying he did set him back on the right course and was turning his attention back to the fact that he was serving God.  Finishing up chapter 12, we see that David went back to work and did his job as the King of Israel.  We may start out fasting in a way to plead with God to intervene; however, I think God does some heart work on us during the process.

Praise God that He always wants to work on our hearts!

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