Misusing the Fast (Daily Portion 10310)

Scripture Passage: 
Zechariah 7:1-14

In this chapter, the temple is nearing completion (compare Ezra 6:15 with Zechariah 7:1). Two men are sent to the house of God to pray and seek God’s will concerning the continuation of an annual fast that had been kept during the years of Babylonian captivity. God uses the occasion to reprove the Israelites for misusing the fasts and refusing to give Him what He truly desired—obedience to His word.

What Does It Say?

  1. The word of the Lord came to Zechariah in the fourth year of king __________.
  2. Of the seventy years of fasts, God asked, “did ye at all fast unto ______, even unto _______?"
  3. What God really wanted is that they hear the __________ which the LORD hath cried by the former ____________.
  4. The Lord told them, Execute true ________, and show mercy and _____________ every man to his brother.
  5. Because of their disobedience, God scattered them with a ______________ among all the nations.

What Does It Mean?

  1. The men asked about the fast of the fifth month (v.3). In His response, the Lord also mentioned a fast of the seventh month (v.5). In the next chapter, we read of fasts in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months. These fasts were established and practiced during the seventy years of captivity (v.5) and they commemorated different aspects of the captivity. Read Jeremiah 52:12-15 and tell what was being commemorated in the fast of the fifth month. If you really want to dig, try to figure out what the other fasts might be commemorating in their separate months. Remember, they were mournful fasts and were meant to remember evil that had come on Judah.
  2. The fasts of Judah in captivity were obviously not pleasing to the Lord. Read Zechariah 7:5-7 and Isaiah 58:3-5 and tell what made their fasts unacceptable to the Lord. Make a list of unacceptable practices for a fast.
  3. The adamant stone is mentioned two times in the Bible (v.12; Ezekiel 3:9). It is one of the hardest of stones. Why is this stone used for this comparison and what is God saying about the people of Judah in this passage?

What Does It Mean to Me?

  1. The Jews had allowed their fasts to become ceremony without spiritual consequence. Nothing changed. Their heart was still not right with God. They continued to ignore His word. This attitude remains with us today. 2Timothy 3:5 condemns the practice of having “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Give some examples of how we do this today? What kind of outward practices are sometimes empty of true spiritual value?
  2. The Lord told them, “let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart” (v.10). What does this mean? Give examples of the kind of evil people imagine against their brothers. What should we do when we recognize this kind of thinking in ourselves?

Suggested Memory Verses

Zechariah 7:9-10

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 3:8

It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.