Is Sunday for show or does Sunday show hearts bowed low for the Almighty God? Do those hands held so high in worship reach out to assist the needy? Public worship should be the icing on a cake baked all week in the oven of service to those in need around us…
2 The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord 3 by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”
4 Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: 5 “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? 6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?
9 “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.
13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Zechariah 7:2-6, 9-13
The people of Bethel sent a question to the priests about fasting in the fifth month, which was a fast put in place by the people to commemorate Nebuchadnezzar raiding the temple and taking valuables – things which were precious to the Lord. And now, seventy years later the people are asking God, should we fast? Well, it turns out that God has not been impressed with their fasting anyway.
Was it really for me that you fasted?
God didn’t think so. In fact, he thought they were doing it for themselves. Same with their feasts. This is a punch in the gut. Would God say this to me or to you? Would he say this to our churches?
Was last Sunday really for me? Was your worship of me really for me or was it for yourself?
Let that sink in.
I think this is why Jesus talks about giving in a manner in which your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing. This is why we are to pray in our closets.
Is Sunday for show or does Sunday show hearts bowed low and deep for the Almighty God?
We can see here that the Lord, through Zechariah, proclaims a message to us that we see echoed by Jesus and then again by brother James: faith without works is dead. If your Sunday is so incredible, how is your Monday to Saturday in terms of justice, mercy, and compassion? When the widow and orphan and the refugee and the poor need help and knock do you open the door?
Do you take those hands held so high in worship and reach them out to assist those in need? Is your worship of me so real that it comes out in the works I have planned in advance for you to do? Thus asketh the Lord…
We can see the outcome of this in the lives of the people of God here: they ignored God’s inspiration and served themselves. Check yourself here, because pity every single one of us if we read this story and fail to repent.
Here is what God has to say about us if we act in this manner: ” ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
If we do not listen to and hear the voice of God in terms of helping those in need, he will not listen to us. God won’t listen Sunday or Monday or Thursday or Friday. He will not listen to us if we are self-centred in our worship and in the living of our lives each and every day.
Public worship should be the icing on a cake baked all week in the oven of service to the least of these brothers and sisters in need around us.
It’s time to repent, church.