Was It For Him

Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: “Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?

Zechariah 7:4-6 (ESV)

 

That had to be a crushing “word” to hear from the Lord. These people had

 ideas about worship and they had carried out their practices on a regular schedule for seventy years. Fasting is never easy. But when God looks down on it, He knows it wasn’t done for Him. They were doing it all for themselves. Instead of fasting and mourning in repentance, they were moved by self-pity. Seventy years of fasting and mourning … wasted.

 

Far too often, we couch our faith in self-serving terms. I’m a wretch … I’m saved … I’m growing spiritually … I’m going to heaven. These are true statements for the Christian, but notice the focus. Is my faith wrapped up in what God will do for me? Do I ever take time to move beyond me and reflect on who He is and what He wants?

 

How can we know whether our lives are lived for Him or for ourselves? Zechariah has a very clear indicator:

 

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10  do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”  Zechariah 7:9-10 (ESV)

 

Our words and actions in worship must be accompanied by corresponding words and actions in daily life. In order for our words of dedication to ring true in God’s ears, we must have our eyes open to the needs of those around us through the week. Justice, kindness, mercy, care for the marginalized, love for your brothers and sisters … these are the fundamentals of a God-pleasing life. Worship without these elements might make us feel good, but it does not reach our hearts. What changes do you need to make in order to have God look down on our worship and say, “Yes, that was for Me!”

 

-Michael Casey

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