“Another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.” – Judges 2:10

“We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” – Psalm 78:4

“Isaac built an altar there (the same place his father Abraham built an altar) and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.” – Genesis 26:25

“So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.” – Genesis 26:17-18

The order of the four verses above is very critical to the theme of this 40-day devotional track. A generation that doesn’t know its history forgets God and loses its spiritual potency in the earth. When we pass down the spiritual history of the fasting fathers and mothers of past eras, a generation is moved to rebuild those altars and to redig those wells of revival, recovering once again their power in the earth. Thus, we research the fasting altars of historic forerunners so that once again rivers of living water will break out to refresh the globe.

When I worship God, one of my favorite names describing his nature is “The Lord of History”. History is not a compilation of brute facts and meaningless isolated events. History has an Author and it is His Story. He has written it and He is the Lord of it. Man is not at the mercy of impersonal fate or cruel determinism. A good God governs the earth with kindness. He changes times and seasons. He overrules the edicts of man. He raises the poor out of the ash heap and makes them sit with princes. Sinister powers seek to change times and seasons and alter God’s benign and wise plans, but the Author holds the pen. Because he is the Author, He is also the Teacher of history. We are meant to learn from history. History teaches us God’s ways and warns us against detouring from them.

Paul enjoins the church at Corinth concerning Israel’s exodus history when he writes, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11, NKJV). Bible history, and all of history, shows us how God has acted in the past so that we might reenact His pathways to purpose and power in our present age.

Thus, in this 40-day devotional, we return to the original historic Jesus Fast in order to recover Jesus’ original power. When we read of Jesus’ fast in Luke 4, we may be tempted to treat it as a once-off anomaly, completely irrelevant to us in our modern and busy culture. However, when we have only one recorded fast of Jesus, and that one fast was 40 days on water, and when He declares that certain demonic spirits are cast out only by prayer and fasting (Matt. 17:21), then we have to seriously consider the probability that Jesus meant for all of us to do extended fasting to set this broken world free.

If Israel’s failure in the 40-year wilderness was an example to us, then must not Jesus’ example of the 40-day fast also be an example for us to follow? What a generation failed in for 40 years, Jesus fulfilled in 40 days. If history is His Story, then shouldn’t it be our story? When the student of history begins to discover certain patterns recurring with obvious cause and effect realities, then that student must pause and highlight such patterns, recognizing the presence of the unseen teacher of history at work. As preachers and teachers, it then becomes our spiritual obligation to pass on the historic patterns of power to the next generation so they will not be those “who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done.” Then, when faith comes with hearing, a divine reenactment takes place and power proceeds again.

It was said of Winston Churchill that he used history like a cannon and gave the lion of England back its roar. In this 40-day fasting devotional, I hope to call a generation back to the historical fast of Jesus and the fasting history of those pioneers of revival that followed in His train. In so doing, I hope the Holy Spirit will give the church in every nation back its roar.

The prophet Malachi declares, ”Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).

This does not primarily mean that fathers and children will be restored to good relationship. It means the hearts of the patriarchs and their passion for God will be passed on to the hearts of their children and those children will return to the God pursuit and sacrifices of the patriarchal forefathers. It’s interesting that Elijah fasted 40 days and gave his heart to Elisha as a spiritual son. Maybe it’s time for our generation, like John the Baptist, to return to Elijah’s fast and heart passions so that the curse can be restrained over all nations of the earth and that Jesus may be manifested to the children of every nation, tribe, and tongue.

For the remainder of these 40 days, I would encourage you to study the revival history of your tribe, city, or nation to see if fasting and prayer were the birthplace of that history. Then, let’s not just read history, but let’s make it by building altars and digging ancient wells of revival in these 40 days!

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