Tuesday September 29, 2015: Zechariah 7-9; Luke 13
4 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: 5 Say to all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? 6 And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink only for yourselves? 7 Were not these the words that the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, along with the towns around it, and when the Negeb and the Shephelah were inhabited?
8 The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: 9 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; 10 do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.
These are really important words – I do not want you to miss them. The issue at stake here is that the people were ‘acting out the fast’ – oh, they actually fasted, but not for the right reasons, or with the right motivations. The act of fasting did not bring them closer to God or to living a holy life that God commands. The fast was for show. The TRUE fast that God wants is a fast from hatred, a fast from oppression, a fast from doing evil to others. The inner fast is so much more significant than the outer fast – or said another way, the outer fast is an expression of an inner change – an inner holiness.
How is it with you? Are there things from which you need to fast (inner?) – how would those be expressed externally? These are the questions I am examining myself today, and praying for all of us as we do the same.