“Speak to all the people of the land and to the priests, saying, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months, even those seventy years you were in exile, was it for Me that you fasted, for Me?” Zechariah 7:5 Amplified
The backstory on this verse is that the Jews had returned to Jerusalem after being in captivity for 70 years. They had sent men to the priests and prophets in the house of the Lord to pray and entreat them for the favor of the Lord. Today’s verse was part of His response. He basically asked them, why did you fast, was it for Me?
God seems to be asking them a heart question which boils down to – do you do what you do to please Me, or to get something? In the later verses He tells them to execute true judgment; not what you think will get you something. Show mercy, kindness, and tender compassion to all; not just those who show it to you. Don’t oppress the widow, the fatherless, the stranger, or the poor; help those who need help. Don’t devise, imagine, or think evil against anyone in your heart.
Their response? “But they refused to listen and turned a rebellious and stubborn shoulder and made heavy and dull their ears that they might not hear.” (verse 11)
They suffered the consequences and were scattered among all the nations and the land was desolate.
Why do you fast?