February 1, 2015 Sunday School Commentary
“Feasting and Fasting”
Bible Background- Daniel 1, Matthew 6
Highlighted Text – Daniel 1:5, 8-17; Matthew 6:16-18
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in the secret, shall reward they openly. – Matthew 6:17-18.
Our Sunday School lessons for the month of January focused on prayer and intercession. Prayer is a part of the Christian’s life support. As we move forward this year, let us remember that Jesus is our High Priest, the one who stands in constant intercession for us. Let us understand the importance of having a prayer relationship with our Father. On this journey, we are not islands to ourselves; therefore, let us have the compassion to pray for one another.
Prayer and fasting is a biblical principle that takes prayer to another level. It helps us spiritually, but also physically when exercised correctly. Today, we will gain more insight on what the Bible says about fasting.
The Appointment of the King (Daniel 1:5)
The story of Daniel is a very famous one that highlights God’s reward to faithfulness. During this Babylonian captivity period, the King of Babylon wanted a way to help his captives adapt to the Babylonian culture; arts, education, customs. The king decided to place his royal captives; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah on choice food and drink for three years. This was a way for the king to exhort his authority and show he was in control.
Nugget: Do you recall a situation when someone in authority over you wanted to abuse their power?
The Abstinence of Daniel and His Friends (Daniel 1:8-14)
Daniel was man after God’s heart and was committed to pleasing God. Although he was placed in a position where it seemed like he was powerless, he knew that he was royalty even at the ‘mercy’ of a king in a foreign land. Daniel gained favor with the king’s head officer and was able to alter the king’s feast to honor his fast to God. Daniel and his friends were granted this exception when they continued to look healthier and stronger than the others who ate the king’s original feast. This sacrifice showed that they were indeed loyal to their real King and not an earthly king.
Nugget: Are you willing to do something that the majority will not do in order to please God?
The Approval of God (Daniel 1:15-17, Matthew 6:16-18)
After just 10 days of altering the king’s feast that included no meat, Daniel and his friends started to see results. Because of their loyalty to God, they were able to keep their fast the remaining of the three years. Not only were their physical appearances better, the Bible says that God gave them “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom.” They were mentally and spiritually sharp. Daniel had the ability to interpret dreams that was of great usage to the king. God allowed Daniel and other captives to gain favor with the Babylonian king.
Nugget: When we are faithful to God he will allow us favor in the most difficult situations.
Fasting and changing our diets are just a few ways to make sacrifices for a closer relationship with God. When we elect food choices, he allows our bodies to cleanse and this allows us to feel better physically and mentally. Fasting does not just consist of foods or beverages. We should also consider abstaining from material things that cloud our relationship with God. Certain things if we don’t do with out them for periods of times, will affect our emotional states and have control over our minds and lives. Consider time spent on the Internet and social sites. How much television is consumed within a day and how does a particular show determine our schedules? How do we spend our break and lunch periods at work?
As we enter this new month , this week, let us strongly evaluate the things in our lives that hinder us from praying to God, reading more of our Word and edifying the Body of Christ. Do not look at the obvious, but dig to seek what really has more control in your life than God. Ask God to reveal it to you and help you to submit it to God. For as Daniel had to show the Babylonian king, nothing has more power than our King, Jesus Christ!
It’s manifestation time!
Commentary by, Evangelist Shulanda Hastings
Lesson guide, Direction by Urban Ministries