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!