Hey, look who is still alive. It has been my desire to starting writing on this blog for some time. A lot has happened since my last post, and I don’t think it would be possible to really recap everything and I’m not going to try.
Today is the first day of 21 days of fasting. This isn’t me standing on the street corner saying “hey look at me!” or anything like that. I’m writing this to be an encouragement to my students that are participating. I will try to write every day over the next 21 days to try and share something about fasting, prayer, God, or whatever else might be relevant.
Some of my students are participating in a “Daniel Fast,” which comes from the story in the book of Daniel where he and our good friends “Rack, Shack, and Benni” are tempted to break their dietary vows with food from the king’s table. Instead they limit themselves to what they can eat, essentially a vegetarian fare in that city, and they are shown to be the best of the young men brought in for training after 21 days. I’ll be talking about this more later. Some of my students are doing other kinds of fasting. I encouraged them to fast food in some way, but also some other activity in their lives that they are dependent on.
I also encouraged them to replace the fasted food and other thing with increased prayer otherwise this is really just a diet. Over the next three weeks we will be praying on the same topics starting with “School/Workplace” today. In fact I will be contacting everyone to remind them of the topic and encouraging them to pray for teachers/administrators/management today. If you feel led I would encourage you to join in with prayer for your own school/workplace today.
Since this is the first day of 21 days of fasting, I thought it would be interesting to point out something very simple but profound about the number 21. Numbers often have meaning in the Bible. 6 is the number of man and beast, since bother were created on the 6th day. It is also about “not quite complete.” In other out terms “not a 10.” 7 is the number for completion, creation was done on the 6th day but it wasn’t complete until the 7th. You often see 7 used to indicate complete, perfect, or whole. “Forgive your brother 70 times 7” isn’t a literal number, nor is it intended to be just some really big number to a society that didn’t get what 490 really meant. It was about wholly and fully forgiving your brother, not trying to count up some number of times.
Another really important number is 3. This is the number for God (the Trinity) and atonement (the number of days Jesus was in the grave) but also a number for superlative (best or most). There are many examples of this in the Bible, but none really compare to the Angels crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy” around the throne as they exalt God. This is really “Holiest” or “most Holy above all else.”
Of course anyone halfway good at math can see that 21 is a multiplication of 3 and 7. The Bible often uses numeric symbols like this. It merges the number of the beast/man three times to make the mark of the Beast. Not to say that this is God’s number, but rather to indicate the ultimate beast/man, so much more than all those which came before it, the lesser “antichrists” like Nero or Hitler.
In this case I believe the significance of 3 weeks is important. There are 3 holy days during this time, but the rest of the days are also more important. Isn’t not just another Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Our life has been put on hold to focus more on God even on those days. The week is now complete.
I truly pray that we see more of God and less of us during this time, that at the end it would be complete and will not be broken, just us going back to our unchanged lives.