Zechariah 7* The captives' inquiry respecting fasting. (1-7) Sin the causeof their captivity. (8-14)1-7 If we truly desire to know the will of God in doubtfulmatters, we must not only consult his word and ministers, butseek his direction by fervent prayer. Those who would know God'smind should consult God's ministers; and, in doubtful cases, askadvice of those whose special business it is to search theScriptures. The Jews seemed to question whether they ought tocontinue their fasts, seeing that the city and temple werelikely to be finished. The first answer to their inquiry is asharp reproof of hypocrisy. These fasts were not acceptable toGod, unless observed in a better manner, and to better purpose.There was the form of duty, but no life, or soul, or power init. Holy exercises are to be done to God, looking to his word asour rule, and his glory as our end, seeking to please him andobtain his favour; but self was the centre of all their actions.And it was not enough to weep on fast days; they should havesearched the Scriptures of the prophets, that they might haveseen what was the ground of God's controversy with theirfathers. Whether people are in prosperity or adversity, theymust be called upon to leave their sins, and to do their duty. 8-14 God's judgements upon Israel of old for their sins, werewritten to warn Christians. The duties required are, not keepingfasts and offering sacrifices, but doing justly and lovingmercy, which tend to the public welfare and peace. The law ofGod lays restraint upon the heart. But they filled their mindswith prejudices against the word of God. Nothing is harder thanthe heart of a presumptuous sinner. See the fatal consequencesof this to their fathers. Great sins against the Lord of hosts,bring great wrath from his power, which cannot be resisted. Sin,if regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the success ofprayer. The Lord always hears the cry of the broken-heartedpenitent; yet all who die impenitent and unbelieving, will findno remedy or refuge from miseries which while here they despisedand defied, but which they then will not be able to bear.
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