On Sunday our class looked at Zechariah 7:1-14 and how a couple of men went to the priest to ask about the necessity to continue some fasts that had begun when the Jews were exiled to Babylon.
For some 68 years, they had faithfully fasted four times a year as a nation to commemorate events leading up to the exile.
The fasts had been instituted with right hearts as a way of mourning for what God had allowed as discipline for their disobedience.
But these had turned into a ritual to be checked off.
All meaning and all devotion to God had long since vanished from the observance of these fasts.
God responds to their request through Zechariah the prophet.
He reminds them that He knows the hearts of all people.
He asks them why they are inquiring of the priests about a law that they made up since the priest was in the business of helping them interpret only God’s laws. Not man’s.
He asks them if, while they are about finding out if they have to do this fast anymore, they would consider how many of their feasts…that He actually had commanded…were being observed with hearts turned toward Him.
He refreshes their memories about why their forefathers had been sent into exile…
with hardened and disobedient hearts, they had continually turned away from God and turned toward themselves and the religions and loves of those around them.
And now those who had returned to Jerusalem were in danger of following these old ruts carved by those who had gone before them.
And the message to the pre and post exile Jews is the same message every generation has needed. Because we, as humans, are prone to boredom and wanderlust. We like to make things our own…and we forget the God who made us His own.
I found an excellent resource for study of this portion of Zechariah on the bible.org website. Here: //bible.org/seriespage/lesson-9-avoiding-spiritual-sclerosis-zechariah-71-14
Steven J. Cole compares our bent toward disobedience with hardening of the arteries in our physical bodies.
He gives some warning signs for what he calls “spiritual sclerosis” and they are all found in Zechariah 7:11:
- Refusal to pay attention to God
- Refusal to submit to spiritual authority
- Refusal to hear God’s Word
He says that the only cure is to make the inward reality of God our focus instead of the outward expression of religion.
Well…I am quite sure you saw this coming so…
as we journey on through the season of Lent…
if you have begun to experience any kind of “weariness” with your fasting…or your added study…or your deeper seeking of God…
it may be a sign that you are having a heart issue.
Don’t stop the practice…but make sure you are practicing any disciplines with a heart that seeks only a greater inward reality of God.
Be real and present in the Presence of God today <3
Practice the disciplines of our faith walk as means to greater knowing and trusting of our God.
So whether you eat or drink…whatever you do…do it all for the GLORY of God 1 Corinthians 10:13