‘Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?’ Zechariah 7:5–6
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:19–22
Is it not true that some of you do not use the day of rest and the house of prayer for their real purpose, which is that man may meet with God? There was a man who professed great love to his friend, and therefore he would spend a day in his company. He rapped at the door, and the servant said the master was not at home. ‘It does not matter,’ said he, ‘I will wait inside and take my ease; I shall do quite as well though the master be not at home if you will bring me abundance to eat and drink.’ So he entered, and took a chair and made himself very comfortable, and feasted to his heart’s content; and he went home boasting that he had enjoyed the visit. Then his companions asked him—‘Was the master there?’ ‘Oh no, he was not there.’ ‘But I thought you went to see him?’ He had pretended a great desire to have converse with his friend but evidently he was false, for if he had gone to see the master, and the master had not been at home, he would have said—‘Well, I will call another day, but I have missed my errand this time.’ So there are some who go up to the house of God; they think they go there to worship the Lord; they have no enjoyment of his presence, they have no communion with his Son, they have no indwellings of his Spirit, but they enjoy the day for all that, which shows they did not go to worship God at all. When we put the question to them—‘Did ye at all fast unto the Lord?’ their answer must be—‘No, truly, we only sought self; we did not seek the Master’s presence.’
For meditation: Everything in our lives should be a sacrifice of worship to the Lord (Romans 11:36–12:1). Do you really meet with him when you talk to him, sing to him and listen to his Word or are you simply playing a superstitious religious game? God does not accept lip-service (Isaiah 29:13; Amos 5:21–23).
Sermon no. 438
9 March (1862)