A true fast!
Scripture reading for September 29th: Zechariah 7-8
“Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?'” Zechariah 7:4-6
Many times the Lord’s children go through the motions of worship or serving the Lord. We do what is expected or required, but don’t really put our hearts into it. I have done that before with fasting. As soon as I seek to fast, my flesh acts up and distractions come faster than ever before! I have a hard time focusing for prayer and thoughts of food or irritations come to distract me. My heart isn’t in it.
God used Zechariah to preach to His people on this subject as they returned to work on the temple. You see, God did not want them just to not have food, He wanted them to administer justice and show mercy to one another. He wanted them to care for the needy and poor and help the widow and orphan. He wanted their hearts to truly love each other instead of thinking evil. (Zechariah 7:8-10) It would produce positive results and progress in godliness.
But God’s people just went through the motions. He became angry with them, and scattered them among the nations. This is why the land became desolate and rested for the seventy years. Hard hearts and disobedience had brought inevitable consequences.
But now, God was again jealous for Jerusalem! He would now show good and blessing to this city. God would gather His people again back to the land and many peoples and nations would also come and join themselves to the Jew! (Zechariah 8:15-23) Fasting has always been a way for God’s people to draw closer to Him and find their true appetites satisfied. A true fast brings cleansing to body and soul. The body cleanses itself from toxins and waste as we quit eating and drink lots of water. The soul quits focusing on bodily appetites and focuses on the Lord and His will. Toxins of the soul include bitterness, depression, apathy, unforgiveness, and injustice.Take time soon for a true fast! It will work wonders for body and soul!