“Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me- for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets…?”(Zechariah 7:5,6)
In 586 BC the Babylonian army finished their siege on Jerusalem by breaking down the walls and burning the temple and all the houses of Jerusalem. The inhabitants were taken and carried off to Babylon to complete seventy years of captivity. During those years as captives the peoples instituted several fasts. The fast in the fifth month commemorated the burning of the first temple. The fast in the seventh month commemorated the assassination of Gedaliah, the governor of Judah. These fasts were instituted by men and not by God. If they had heeded the words of the prophets before, they would have had no need for these fasts, for God would have protected them from the Babylonian army and they would not have been taken into captivity.
Does not today man still do similar things? A relationship with the Lord is replaced by rituals or traditions initiated by man. This is called religion. These always are things believed to appease or please God when in reality they are man centered. God said of them, “Yes they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit.” (7:12) What about you? Are you hearing His word and engaging with Him or are you trying to relate to Him through man made rules and traditions of men? Is your relationship with God all about Him or is it about you?