Work rebuilding the temple had begun. Today’s passage is the Lord’s reply to the people who had asked if they still needed to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The Lord questions their motives for fasting in the first place. Just like nowadays, the people had lost sight of what really mattered. They were just acting out their rituals, primarily for social reasons, out of habit and a sense of tradition. It never takes very long before the real faith of a truly believing community becomes lost in religious practice which all too often prioritises human vanity over justice, mercy and kindness. (also see Hosea 6:6). The Bible is full of stories, time after time, of one generation turning whole-heartedly back to live the true message of The Lord, only for the following generations to fall away again, usually into worshipping idols, or simply using their pious religious practices to serve their own selfish desires. Things never turn out well in the end, for those who ignore, neglect or completely forget The Lord.
Zechariah 7:4-12 NLT
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply: “Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?’” Then this message came to Zechariah from The Lord: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. “Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.
How many more times will The Lord send prophets to tell the people of the earth, the people He made Himself, that they have missed the point? Who knows? I do know, however, that we already have all the information we need available to us in the Bible. Therefore my goal will be to study the Word of The Lord as closely as I can and encourage as many others who will hear to do likewise. How tragic it would be, if even with the knowledge of what God wants for our live so readily available to us, we should still miss the main point of his message! – “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34, 35)
Zechariah 6:1-7:14, Revelation 15:1-8, Psalms 143:1-12, Proverbs 30:24-28