“Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?”
The people in Zechariah’s day were beginning to realize their lifestyle was unacceptable to God. They concluded, the solution to unrighteous living was to fast on certain days. Prior to implementing their new religious program, they approached the prophet for guidance. He declared what they really needed to do was obey the Word of The Lord.
“Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets…”
There is something about the nature of all men that when we become convicted of our sins, we want to perform religious deeds. We think we need to go to church, recite a prayer, or be involved in some other religious activity. While these activities are very important and must play a role in our lives, our greatest need is to return to the Lord and live in obedience to His written Word.
Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He declared to the disciples that if they loved Him they keep His commands (John 14:15). The truest evidence of repentance is a change of behavior. Albeit, there are times when that is very difficult and almost impossible to do. I am reminded of a man with a deformed hand who met Jesus in a church service. Jesus asked him to do the one thing he was incapable of doing. He said “stretch forth your hand” (Luke 6:10). Rather than giving excuses, or even good reasons why he could not obey, the man simply trusted and obeyed. His obedience was met with the power of God, and his deformity was healed.
If God has revealed areas in your life that need to be corrected, don’t settle for a few religious activities. Instead, turn to Him with your whole heart and receive His power to live obediently to His word.