Daily Reading: (Acts 13:1-5):
“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.”
In the natural mind Paul and Barnabas would have sought out places with popular trade routes, lots of population, in order to most effectively spread the Gospel, not necessarily Salamis.
Now in the text it doesn’t even say they were seeking a certain answer to a certain problem, but what I do know is that as they worshiped, as they prayed, fasted, and were prayed for, their next steps became clear. Because wisdom is found in time spent with the Lord (Acts 13:4).
The calling came about as the church prayed and the church worshiped God together. Fasting is not just an Old Testament practice but is a part of worship, living in the New Covenant (Acts 13:3).
Some people who rightly understand they are living in the New Covenant, don’t correctly understand fasting and avoid it. In the New Covenant, fasting has a new dynamic, fasting seems to be very brief, and used to clarify and confirm a choice. It is an intentional choice to fine tune your spiritual senses to ascertain what God is leading.
So, if you fast as they did in the Old Testament to try and get closer to God, you are wasting your time. God lives in you and you can’t get any closer than that. If you are fasting to try and get God take notice of you and give you something, every spiritual blessing in Christ is already yours (Ephesians 1:3). However, if you are faced with a decision, and need wisdom, spend time with God – sing His praises, believe His promises, and sometimes even abstain from food for a short time because your focus isn’t on anything other than Him.
Elymas is Bar-Jesus. Bar-Jesus was the name this character had received from his family; but his practice of the black arts had earned him another, “Elymas,” which is “an Arabic word meaning sorcerer.