Tag: Zechariah 7-8

Blessings of a true fast!

Scripture reading for October 1st: 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 we who are the Lord’s children go through the motions when we seek to worship or serve the Lord.  We do what is expected or required, but don’t really put our hearts into it.  I know that I have done that before with fasting.  As soon as I begin to fast, my flesh acts up and distractions come faster than ever before!   I have good intentions, but poor results!

God used Zechariah to preach to His people as they returned to work on the temple.  God did not want them going through the expected motions of the fast.   He wanted them to administer justice and show mercy and compassion 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)  Fasting that pleases God results in a focus on what God really loves.

God’s people just went through the motions and God scattered them among the nations.  This is why the land became desolate and rested for the seventy years.  Hard hearts and disobedience had brought their inevitable consequences.  But now, God was again jealous for Jerusalem and promised to show blessing and favor.  God would gather His people back to the land and many nations would 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.   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 desires the Lord and His will.  Toxins of the soul include bitterness, depression, apathy, unforgiveness, lack of truth and injustice.  The water of God’s word washes the soul clean.  Take time soon for a true fast!  It will work wonders for body and soul!

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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!

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True Fasting!

Scripture reading for October 1st: Zechariah 7-8

In Zechariah’s day, the people were fasting in four different months.  They had started this practice during the exile as a sign to God of their mourning over sin.  Now that they were back in Jerusalem, they sought to know whether they should continue this practice.  (Zechariah 7:2-3)  God spoke to them by asking them some questions: “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past 70 years, was it really for Me that you fasted?  And when eating and drinking, were you not feasting for yourselves?” (Zechariah 7:5-6)  God knew that their religious rituals were not done from the heart but in form only. He tried to get them to admit this and repent.

God is after real heart change.  “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.  In you hearts do not think evil of each other.'” (Zechariah 7:9-10)  True fasting produces results in our daily lives.  (Isaiah 58:6-14)  It is demonstrated by mercy and compassion on those who are broken and wounded.  The widows and fatherless are of particular concern to God as well as the alien and poor.  His people must not judge or speak evil, but work to build up and encourage those who are hurting.

God’s people did not respond earlier and because of their hardened hearts, He judged them by sending a whirlwind and scattering them among the nations.  God put the blame on His people for their failure to respond to His word through the prophets.  (Zechariah 7:13-14)

But God was now restoring Jerusalem and would again come and dwell among His people.  They were to pay heed to His word and live a truly fasted life of compassion and service to their fellow men.  God would bless their city, land, and personal lives as they obeyed.  This required courage and a life consecrated to God.  “Do not be afraid.  These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts, do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely.  I hate all this,” declares the Lord. (Zechariah 8:15b-17)  True fasting is worked out in our lives each day.  It is the state of a heart consecrated to God.

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A True Fast!

Scripture reading for October 1st: 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 we who are the Lord’s children go through the motions when we seek to worship or serve the Lord.  We do what is expected or required, but don’t really put our hearts into it.  I know that I have done that before with fasting.  As soon as you seek to fast, your flesh acts up and distractions come faster than ever before!  You have a hard time focusing for prayer and thoughts of food or irritations come to distract you.

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 and mourn during the fast.  He wanted them to administer justice and show mercy and compassion 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)  Real fasting that pleases God has to do with refocusing on what God really loves and doing that.  It was to produce positive results and progress in godliness.

God’s people just went through the motions and so God said that He did the same.  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 their inevitable consequences.

But now, God was again jealous for Jerusalem!  He would now show good and blessing to this city and favor them.  The true fast would be a joyful time and the festivals would be filled with happiness as they loved truth and peace.  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.  God, Himself, is enough for us.  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, lack of truth and injustice.  The water of God’s word washes the soul clean.  Take time soon for a true fast!  It will work wonders for body and soul!

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