God is faithful to both redeem and purify his people and offer us a new beginning. No matter how far we have ‘strayed’ from God, he offers us a chance to begin again. As we look through the book of Zechariah, we will be encouraged as we recognize the importance of repentance and faithfulness in our lives. We serve a God who makes all things new, and that includes YOU!
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Study Guide Questions
1. We see at the beginning of Zechariah, chapter 7, a group of individuals asking if they need to continue mourning, fasting, and feasting because of the destruction of the temple over 70 years before. God delivers a message through Zechariah that the people weren’t fasting or feasting for him, but for themselves. God condemns the ritual for ritual sake as we can see in 1 Samuel 15:22 and Isaiah 29:13. What things do we do in our lives that are done for the sake of doing them but aren’t done with a heart for God?
2. God wants our hearts. And he wants us to live an authentic life with him at the center of it. He tells us in Zechariah 7:8-10 what that life looks like. Justice with mercy and compassion, standing up for those without a voice, and thinking of each other with love, not with evil. All of these things echo how God sees and deals with us. Even though we are broken, sinful creatures (Romans 3:23), he loves us and cares for us right where we are. What does living an authentic life look like on a daily basis to you?
3. At the heart of the matter is, quite literally, the heart. God does not need our good deeds or rituals. He WANTS our hearts to be turned toward him. He WANTS our actions to be an outpouring of his love that is inside of us. His love. If we want to have an authentic life in Christ, we need to worship him from our hearts first and foremost as it says in John 4:24. We need to let God change us inside so that our actions, rituals, and service are a reflection of God living in us. Are we having a REAL relationship with God in our hearts? This must be the question we ask ourselves and the goal we have to live out an authentic life.
Additional Scriptures to study: Zechariah 7, 1 Samuel 15:22, Isaiah 29:13, Romans 3:23, John 4:24