Fasting and Prayer

SERMON TOPIC: Fasting and Prayer

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 6 January 2013


Sermon synopsis: Isaiah 58:1-11
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

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Fasting & Prayer.

Matthew 9:14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast? Jesus answered, How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

Commitment vs Surrender.

Commitment – The essence.

The word commitment is in essence not a Biblical concept. It is more or less since the 1960’s that Christian writers and preachers began to use the word. Today people are asked to make a commitment to follow Christ, to commit to go to the mission field, to give financially, to pray for a certain issue.

Commitment – The meaning.

The word commitment means: promised devotion, to pledge devotion or dedication to somebody or something; to be committed to, to entrust something or somebody to somebody else for protection.

Commitment – The loophole.

The loophole with commitment though, is that we can still decide what and how much we want to commit. The decision still lies with us. We are still in control. It is a more of a humanistic concept than a Christian concept. Scripture speaks of surrender, not commitment.

Commitment vs Surrender.

Surrender – The definition.

The definition of surrender is: to give up possession of something; to relinquish possession or control of something, unconditional submission, abandonment of legal rights, an act of willing submission to authority, capitulation, renunciation, to hand over, to give up a fight, an act of declaring defeat at the hands of an opponent.

Surrender – Giving up.

Let us surrender to God. Let us give up our rights. When we surrender to God, it is not for us to decide what we want to do with our lives, possessions and future. It is only in surrender that God can do with us what he wants to do. Surrender is unconditional commitment. It goes against the grain of the era of humanism. It is in total surrender that we can really pray: “Your will be done.” It is through total surrender that we can get out of the way so that God can work in and through us or even set us aside to work through someone else to do what needs to be done.

Commitment vs Surrender.

Surrender – Act of faith.

Surrender is an absolute act of faith, saying: “Lord I trust you.” Praying from a position of surrender, not commitment, allows God to work far above and beyond what we can think or imagine. One of the biggest differences between commitment and surrender is the fact that in commitment things depend on me. In surrender I give all to God. I will fail, but he will never fail. Commitment without surrender is often trying to do what only God can do through me when I surrender to him.

Commitment vs Surrender.

Commitment/ Surrender.

Commitment comes after surrender. After our unconditional commitment (surrender), we follow through on our commitment, whatever the cost. Sooner or later the Christian life comes to a place where there is a price to be paid. It is here where commitment carries us through, irrespective of our circumstances, lack of faith and strength or unwillingness. We can commit ourselves for instance to do a certain piece of work. As soon as other pressures come, we might feel that we simply cannot do it. This is where unconditional commitment comes in: I keep my commitment, irrespective of the circumstances. We will often sense that God is asking us to do something. After prayer and consultation, we feel that we need to do it. We put our hand to the plough and start. But then all sorts of difficulties arise and we feel that we cannot go on. Suddenly we start finding excuses: Perhaps God didn’t speak to me about this issue or maybe it is time to hand this over to someone else. We have too many sprinters in the Kingdom of God, but there are not enough long distance runners willing to complete the marathon. The Christian race is a marathon. God’s marathon requires training, unconditional commitment and for you to surrender to him…. Bennie Mostert

Fasting & Prayer.

Fasting on it’s own is not enough, it must be accompanied by prayer, in fact perhaps the most important thing about fasting is the effect it can and should have on our prayer life.

1 Samuel 12:18-25.

Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel. The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”

“Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”…. {ARE WE SINNING BY NOT PRAYING?}

Fasting & Prayer.

It is easy to substitute religion for relationship.

Isaiah 1:10-17.

Hear the word of the Lord you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Fasting & Prayer.

Isaiah 1:19-23.

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.

The true fast.

Isaiah 58:1-11.

Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. Why have we fasted, they say, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed? Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

The true fast.

Isaiah 58:1-11. Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Fasting & Prayer.

Isaiah 58:9. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed.

Article by Angus Buchan from devotional “A mustard seed” 18 December.

There is a saying: Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me. That is totally untrue. It actually works in reverse. When you get beaten with sticks and stones, your body can recover but when people speak deadly words over you, when they speak negative words and criticize you, they can break you down to such a degree that only the Lord Himself can heal you. Today we need to be careful about how we use our words. Some Christians are so negative that the devil himself has no more work to do. Everything is doom and gloom. Everything is negative. They bring no glory to God. In fact indirectly, although they are not conscious of it, they become agents of the devil. Be careful how you talk my dear friend. Even today maybe we need to repent before we go out to face the day of the things we have spoken over our loved ones, over the family, over our business, over our nation, over people, over God’s creation. We need to be so careful how we speak.

Fasting & Prayer.

Article by Angus Buchan from devotional cont….

Men and women of faith always speak life and truth. The opposite of faith is fear. Fear comes upon us when we speak about things which have a negative connotation attached to them. For example, if you say to your children, “You little devils, I wish I had never given birth to you.” You are actually speaking a curse over their lives. You say to your husband, “He’ll never come to Christ because he is such an arrogant person.” What are you saying? You are speaking a curse over your husband. “My wife will never, ever get it together. She is so lazy. Our house, our family is in a mess.” You are speaking death over your wife. “My children will never amount to anything” Those are negative words. That is the guile which Jesus Christ does not want to hear coming out of your or my mouth.

Fasting & Prayer.

Article by Angus Buchan from devotional cont….

My headmaster told my mother to take me out of school when I was a young boy, because I’d never amount to anything in school. I often say tongue in cheek, “I’d like to meet him one day and ask him how many books he has written and how many things he’s done for God.” Those negative words need to be broken. A man came with his son to one of our conferences. God did a sovereign work of reconciliation between fathers and sons in that conference. The meeting was supposed to have lasted an hour. It lasted 5 and a half hours. This man stood up on the platform and asked his son, who was sitting in the crowd, to please forgive him for not acknowledging him, for not loving him unconditionally and for not been proud of him. The young boy, eighteen years old, came running up and embraced his father in front of six hundred men. That young boy could, I think, barely make the second rugby team. I’ve since heard that he is now a candidate for professional rugby. Why? Because his dad spoke life over him.

Fasting & Prayer.

Article by Angus Buchan from devotional cont….

I want to say this in conclusion today: If you have nothing good to say about a person, rather say nothing than speak negative words. Ask God to show you something good in that person you are struggling to even have a relationship with, and God will give you compassion and mercy for that person. Begin to speak life, not only over other people, but yourself. David often did that: “My soul, why art thou so cast down?” and start speaking about the good attributes that God has given you. He’s given you so many gifts. Acknowledge them and use them today.

Fasting & Prayer.

Our salvation is based on grace not works so fasting is not trying to earn that which the Lord has already paid for at Calvary and given to us by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus himself spoke of the Pharisee who tithed and fasted twice a week and looked down on others and he said that this man was not justified before God.

Luke 18:9-14

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: God, I thank you that I am not like other people, robbers, evildoers, adulterers or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Fasting & Prayer.

Although we don’t fast to get justified in God’s sight, we need to be reminded that the flesh and it’s appetites pose a serious threat to our spiritual well-being.


Matthew 26:40.

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour? he asked Peter. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.


1 Corinthians 7:4-5.

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Fasting & Prayer.

Food… Question: "Is gluttony a sin? What does the Bible say about overeating?" Answer: Gluttony seems to be a sin that Christians like to ignore. We are often quick to label smoking and drinking as sins, but for some reason gluttony is accepted or at least tolerated. Many of the arguments used against smoking and drinking, such as health and addiction, apply equally to overeating. Many believers would not even consider having a glass of wine or smoking a cigarette but have no qualms about gorging themselves at the dinner table. This should not be! Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 28:7 declares, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs 23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

Fasting & Prayer.

Physical appetites are an analogy of our ability to control ourselves. If we are unable to control our eating habits, we are probably also unable to control other habits, such as those of the mind (lust, covetousness, anger) and unable to keep our mouths from gossip or strife. We are not to let our appetites control us, but we are to have control over our appetites. (See Proverbs 23:2, 2 Peter 1:5-7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and 2 Corinthians 10:5.) The ability to say “no” to anything in excess—self-control—is one of the fruits of the Spirit common to all believers (Galatians 5:22). God has blessed us by filling the earth with foods that are delicious, nutritious, and pleasurable. We should honour God's creation by enjoying these foods and by eating them in appropriate quantities. God calls us to control our appetites, rather than allowing them to control us. Recommended Resources: Eat This and Live by Don Colbert, M.D..

Fasting & Prayer.

Read article off web….

Over eating.

This like some other sins, man has renamed so that it doesn’t sound so bad. A disobedient child is hyper active or independent or strong-willed. The modern day phrase for gluttony is “They have an eating disorder.”

Fasting & Prayer.


All too often lust is associated with sex or material goods, but often in God’s Word it is seen in food and man’s appetite for it.

Genesis 3:3-6.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden? The woman said to the serpent, We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die. You will not certainly die, the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Fasting & Prayer.

Esau sold his birthright for a plate of stew.

Genesis 25:27-34.

The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished! That is why he was also called Edom. Jacob replied, First sell me your birthright. Look, I am about to die, Esau said. What good is the birthright to me? But Jacob said, Swear to me first. So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

Fasting & Prayer.

The Unknown prophet was killed by a lion when he broke the fast the Lord instructed him to take.

Kings 13:7-10 & 15-25.

The king said to the man of God, Come home with me for a meal, and I will give you a gift. But the man of God answered the king, Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came. So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel…

So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat. The man of God said, I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. I have been told by the word of the Lord: You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came. The old prophet answered, I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water (But he was lying to him.)

Fasting & Prayer.

1 Kings 13:7-10 & 15-25 (continued)

So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house. While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, This is what the Lord says: You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors. When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it. Some people who passed by saw the body lying there, with the lion standing beside the body, and they went and reported it in the city where the old prophet lived.

Fasting & Prayer.

The sons of Eli.

1 Samuel 2:12-17.

Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw. If the person said to him, Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want, the servant would answer, No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force. This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.

See NOTE 1

Fasting & Prayer.

Israel’s sin in the wilderness.

Numbers 11:4-9 &13 & 31-34.

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna! The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down…. Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, Give us meat to eat!.....

Fasting & Prayer.

Numbers 11:4-9 &13 & 31-34.

Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.

Fasting & Prayer.

The Corinthian Church.

1 Corinthians 13:17-29.

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

Fasting & Prayer.

1 Corinthians 11:17-29.

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. (The sin: They were eating and drinking too much)

Fasting & Prayer.

Philippians 3:17-19. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. (Remember Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread, but unlike Adam and Eve who were tempted in the midst of abundance, Jesus was tempted during a 40 day fast.)

Fasting & Prayer.

Surely no one will Question that in lands where food is in plentiful supply there are far more people who are ill through over-indulgence than through under nourishment. The Edmund Smith papyrus, estimated to be 3700 years old, quotes an Ancient Egyptian doctor as saying: Man eats too much. Thus he only lives on a quarter of what he consumes. The doctors however live on the remaining three-quarters. From an article in Christian Today we have the following quotation from James Morrison: There are a multitude of diseases which have there origin in fullness, and might have their end in fasting. Without a doubt there are ills that could be cured, or better still prevented, and a better state of general health enjoyed, if fasting coupled with reformed eating habits were practised. Oblivious of this, man still continues to dig his grave with his knife and fork.

Fasting & Prayer.

The Lord even takes notice when the wicked fast.

1 Kings 21:20-29.

Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy! I have found you, he answered, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says, I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin. And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.

See NOTE 1

Fasting & Prayer.

1 Kings 21:20-29.

(There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.) When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.

See NOTE 1

Fasting & Prayer.

Jonah 3:6-10.

When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Fasting & Prayer.

Joel 1:13-16.

Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.

Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes joy and gladness from the house of our God?


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