Chapters 7 & 8 are an historical interlude in the book of Zechariah, between the prophetic visions of the first six chapters and the prophetic climax to the book, from chapter 9-14.
In chapter 7 we see two individuals sent down from Jerusalem to Bethel (The House of God), to ask whether they should continue to keep the fasts they had been observing in the fifth month.
It was on the 5th month (from the 5th to the 10th day) that the Babylonian army of Nebuchadnezzar has destroyed and burned the temple and city of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. During their time in Babylon, the Jews had commemorated this time by fasting and mourning for the city and temple. But now they were back in the land the question is asked, do they need to continue this practice, after all, it wasn’t like the Feast of Moses that they were instructed to keep.
God’s response through Zechariah was to question why they had kept the fasts in the fist place. Was it for God they had done it? Or was is it for themselves? What was their motive?
God them reminds them of the Nation’s history that had led up to the captivity in the first place. It had been characterised by injustice, cruelty, and the leaders of the nation, in particular, had hardened their hearts toward God, not wanting to hear His Law or Prophets.
God now asks in effect, are your hearts still hard? Are you concerned about your ways or my ways? When you ‘celebrate’ your fasts, in the 5th month (when the city and temple were destroyed), or in the 7th month (when Gedaliah, the governor of Judah was assassinated), or in the 10th month (the anniversary of when the siege of Jerusalem had begun), are you celebrating with your thoughts on God? Or are you merely following a ritualistic practice, thinking that in some way, this makes God pleased?
Categories | SUNDAY MORNING STUDIES
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