Zechariah 7 … Consider His Unchanging Way of Worship

“Say to all the people of the land and to the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months these seventy years, was it actually for Me that you fasted?  6 When you eat and drink, do you not eat for yourselves and do you not drink for yourselves?’”  (7:5-6).

Now that conditions had changed, the people wondered if they should cease their practice of fasting in summer months in commemorative grief over their captivity and the destruction of their beloved Jerusalem.

From NIV Study Bible:
fifth month. Commemorated the burning of the temple and other important buildings (2 Kings 25:8-10).
seventh month. Marked the anniversary of Gedaliah’s assassination (2 Kings 25:22-25; Jer 41:1-3).

But now, weren’t they going to be able to enjoy the blessings of freedom? Why would there be any need for fasting?

So they did what they were certain the rules of their worship had mandated, and sent envoys to seek the Lord’s favor, desiring to know if they should still perform their religious duties of fasting.

Now the town of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech and their men to seek the favor of the Lord, speaking to the priests who belong to the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, “Shall I weep in the fifth month and abstain, as I have done these many years?” (7:2-3).

Sounds like an upstanding motive. Until the Lord cuts through their pretentious piety to dissect the bottom-line motivation of their actions, “…was it actually for Me that you fasted?”  6 When you eat and drink, do you not eat for yourselves and do you not drink for yourselves?” (7:5-6).

Ouch. But as the people were rebuilding the temple, the Lord was rebuilding their understanding of His Holiness and Worth, and all that He desired from their Worship. He desired hearts that honored Him so as to be transformed; and whether they were living in prosperity or poverty, wealth or want, liberty or captivity, they were to Worship Him in His Unchanging Way of Worship.

Consider His Unchanging Way of Worship

  • His Unchanging Way of Worship is in our brokenness, not in our bringing.
    • For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
      You are not pleased with burnt offering.
      17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
      A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise,
      (Psalm 51:16-17).
  • His Unchanging Way of Worship is in our reverent trust in Him, not in our strength.
    • He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
      He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
      11 The Lord favors those who fear Him,
      Those who wait for His lovingkindness,
      (Psalm 147:10-11).
  • His Unchanging Way of Worship is in genuine heart intimacy, not in lip service and tradition.
    • “Because this people draw near with their words
      And honor Me with their lip service,
      But they remove their hearts far from Me,
      And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,”
      (Isaiah 29:13).
  • His Unchanging Way of Worship is in rending our hearts, not in our outer displays of religious rituals.
    • “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
      “Return to Me with all your heart,
      And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
      13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”
      Now return to the Lord your God,
      For He is gracious and compassionate,
      Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
      And relenting of evil,”
      (Joel 2:12-13).
  • His Unchanging Way of Worship is done in the secret place of our heart to please Him, not out in the open to be noticed by others.
    • “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you,” (Matthew 6:17-18).
  • His Unchanging Way of Worship is that we Worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, not in a designated locale.
    • Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth,” (John 4:21-24).
  • His Unchanging Way of Worship is in sacrificially offering Him all that we are, not in being conformed to the ways of the world.
    • Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:1-2).

How do we respond to His Unchanging Way of Worship?

As we considered yesterday, our obedience to Him Who Is Our Perfect Priest and King, is a matter of the heart. And His Unchanging Way of Worship has always been a matter of the heart as well. But without the Perfect Offering of our Perfect Priest, we would be forever lost in our sin, forever attempting to get to God in our own way, worshipping Him as we deem acceptable.

But His Way of Worship is Unchanging, and it is through the sacrifice of Christ that we are enabled to humbly offer the overflow of a heart that has been changed by His grace.

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name, (Hebrews 13:15).

Oh, that we would seek His favor in Spirit and in Truth, that His Word would take root in our hearts and fill us to overflowing, that in all that we do, we would become a sacrificial offering of praise and thanksgiving as we walk in His Unchanging Way of Worship.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father, (Colossians 3:16-17).

Let’s Grow Together!

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