Zechariah 7

In Zechariah 7, God speaks to the prophet about His people.  They have been fasting and mourning in the fifth and seventh months for seventy years.  But God challenges that action.  He has Zechariah go to the priests and ask why they have done so.  “Was it for me that you fasted”?  God has a way of cutting through the motives of men and asking the hard questions.  Far too often we miss the point.  We do things without truly thinking about the motive or reason.  We are often doing it for ourselves and how we appear to those in our patch.

God calls them out.  “And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves”?  It wasn’t for God.  It was all about self and the image that went with what appeared to be holy obedience.  But God sees the heart.  God knows what we think and why we act as we do.  God is not mocked by our outward appearance and actions. So why do we pretend?  Why do we go through the motions when we know that God is not impressed or deceived when our actions don’t align with our heart?

God gives Zechariah a list of things that God does desire that we do from the heart:

–       “Render true judgments

–       show kindness and mercy to one another

–       do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor

–       let none of you devise evil against another in your heart

Pretty clear set of expectations and requirements.  But as you might expect, the people rebelled. They insisted on doing things their own way.

They refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets”.  Why do we insist on turning against God?  We know it won’t end well.  When we disobey and violate God’s commandments, it isn’t good.  “Therefore great anger came from the Lord”.  That is predictable.  God “scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations”.  It is obvious, yet we all make those very bad choices and insist on doing things our own way!

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