Exposed

Mark Fackler

READ : Zechariah 7:4-7

Was it for me that you fasted? (v. 5)

Fasting is so tangible and real: you actually feel something when you fast. You deny your body. You forcefully decide to overrule nature in favor of devotion to God. You look at that wonderful food, so deliciously waiting to be eaten, so sumptuously aromatic, and you turn away, to your spiritual benefit.

Unless your motive is self-seeking. Unless you fast as a bargaining chip with God. “Was it for me that you fasted?” asks God (v. 5). Or was it just to get something for yourselves?

Zechariah brings this stunning word from God to people who were banking their good religion for tangible payout later. They thought, hey, sacrifice and fasting now, bigger harvests in a month—more rain, no illness, whatever. Religious devotion was a way to show God you were worth a larger share of God’s blessing.

Fasting is not a lever you pull for future payoffs. Fasting (and prayer, worship, Bible study) is our way of putting God first, before hunger and work and every other personal need. Fasting and other forms of devotion announce this: God is my center, my life, my Savior and king. I like food, yes, but I love God. Heavenly Father, Dear Redeemer, Wonderful Holy Spirit—I do love you!

PRAYER

With a God-aimed heart, I will live for you today, Lord.