Mere rituals versus right attitudes
Week 14: 30/03/2023. Thu
Wow, 1/4 of the year of "Starting Anew" is nearly over. Have you started anew and followed through for some time now?
In Zechariah 7:1—14, there was a question sent by a few men for the priests regarding whether in their renewed life in the promised land, the returnees should continue to fast and mourn in the "fifth month" ritual for the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem about 70 years earlier (now that the temple was being renewed).
Zechariah replied them with the "word of the LORD of hosts" (7:4):
_Zechariah 7:5–7 “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?  Were not these the words that the LORD proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?’” (ESV)
This reply from the LORD pointed to the need of reexamining the religious rituals that we go through each day (e.g. prayer, devotion, good deeds, personal worship etc) or as a community (e.g. weekend worship service, ministries and fellowships etc). Implied in the reply was that the mourners and those who fast did so for the wrong reasons—"for yourselves" (7:6).
The destruction of their temple 70 years earlier was sad because their worship of God and their sacrifices were truncated. The glory of the LORD could not be proclaimed via their gatherings and words of praise could not continue due to their exile and relating sufferings.
The reflection for today would be whether we are going through the motion in our religious activites today, or are we doing so with the correct reasons and motivations in mind, being sure from the LORD's Word of the reasons why we do what we do? And if we do what we do according to the LORD's will, then let us also delight in Him when we do what we do when we meet the LORD individually and as a community.
May you find the delightful reasons to do what you do, each day, everyday. God bless you all.