Passage: Zechariah 7:1~14  
Keyverse: 10
Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

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? Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.

13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Source:  BibleGateway

1. Was it for God or for yourselves? (1-10)

The people of Israel spent 70 years in Babylonian captivity. During that time they observed the 5th and 7th months with mourning and fasting. Should they continue this practice now that they had returned? God asked them a question. Were their religious activities for themselves or for God? More than superficial worship, God wants his people to administer justice, care for the weak, and live together in peace and good will. He does not want us to think evil of each other in our hearts (8-9).

2. Listen to the word of the Lord (11-14)

God said, 'When I called, you would not listen--so when you called, I would not listen.' When we ignore God's word, our hearts become hard like flint, and finally, we lose spiritual discernment. This was why Israel was sent into captivity. Now that they were home and were rebuilding their land, they must not make the same mistake.

Prayer: Lord, help me to obey your word until I learn your compassionate heart.
One Word: Listen to the word of the Lord