What God Really Wants
Topic: AM Service Passage: Zechariah 7:1–14
“Religion” can be a puzzle. The word itself comes from the Latin, meaning “to fasten” or “to bind up.” In a positive sense, we need religion, in that we need to be fastened tight to God. Left to ourselves, we are lost at sea, unable to know which direction is right. But there is another sense in which religion is a hindrance to our relationship with the Lord. When the things of religion become the focus of our lives, they blot out our view of the Lord Himself. It is all too easy to become wrapped up in all of the trappings of religious life which have the appearance of godliness while ignoring the power of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5). After a series of visions meant to encourage the people of God, the Lord turns to Zechariah and speaks a sharp rebuke to a contingent that asks about a fast. Why? The Lord knows that the question is about more than how they should spend a particular day; it is a question grounded in their theology – a theology in which all that ultimately mattered was their comfort and blessing. When we focus on our comfort, we miss the true reality of a relationship with the Lord. Instead, we must look hard and see “What God Really Wants” (Zechariah 7:1-14).
I. What We Think God Wants in Religion
A. That We Do Things “Right”
B. That We “Learn Our Lesson”
II. Warnings Against Shallow Religion
A. It is Self-Centered
B. It is Hard Hearted
III. What True Religion Looks Like
A. Following the Lord
B. Hearing the Lord
Questions for consideration: (1) What things in your life do you do because you think God will reward you for them? How can you repent of that this week? (2) In what ways have you convinced yourself that your needs are essential to your faith? What has caused you to think that way? (3) How can you put into practice the commands of verses 9 and 10 this week, month, or year?