Fast with Joy and Gladness – An Old Testament Word on Fasting

Since some of us are in Lent I though I’d share this passage I came across today in my reading.  Here is an Old Testament word on fasting from Zechariah 8:

18 The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: 19 Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be seasons of joy and gladness, and cheerful festivals for the house of Judah: therefore love truth and peace.

There are times in our lives when seasons of fasting just can’t be seasons of seriousness and somberness for sin for some people.  Here I think it is because the Lord has resolved to do good earlier in verse 15 which precedes this: “so again I have purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; do not be afraid.”

So, what’s the lesson? No need to be legalistic about fasting.  Sometimes the need for repentance is dire, but sometimes we are so blessed that even in a somber season, we can’t be somber.  It kind of reminds me of the text where Jesus says that his followers can’t fast because the bridegroom is present.  If that’s you this Lent, do your fasts in joy and gladness!

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  • Well said, Jeremy.

    • Well, that was Zechariah who said that, or most of it anyway.

  • True enough, but you posted it in a timely manner for those of us who are fasting this season.