Zechariah 7:9-10 “ Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’”
Halloween is just around the corner. This is the time of year when many dress up in costumes. Recently, Luke and Brianna hosted an autumn dress up party. Their little family masqueraded as the cutest beekeeper, flower, and honeybee I’ve ever seen. After the party they took the costumes off and returned to their normal selves. But sadly there are many people who spend their whole lives pretending to be something they are really not.
The prophet, Zechariah, confronted the Judean people about their religious practices. During the seventy years they had spent in captivity they had kept up a regular custom of fasting and mourning. Their actions looked very spiritual and pious, but God saw beyond the outward appearances. Through the prophet He questioned their integrity saying, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months these seventy years was it actually for Me that you fasted?
The Lord then spelled out His version of true and genuine religiosity. It included dispensing justice and practicing kindness and compassion to all people, as well as refraining from oppressing widows, orphans, strangers or the poor. Those who are the “real thing” will not devise evil in their hearts against one another. They will always speak the truth and judge with accuracy and peace.
Sadly, in the past, God’s people had refused to listen to the former prophets’ words. They closed their ears from listening and continued on in their foolish religious masquerade bringing a great catastrophe upon themselves.
Today, there are still many who portray themselves to be something they are really not. Going to church every week, dropping money in the offering plate, and using religious words and phrases are not the measurement of a genuine Christian. Those who have received God’s Spirit within them will show by their actions that they are the “real thing.” They will have a sincere love for those around them that will be demonstrated by their desire for justice and truth. They will reach out to aid those who are struggling and offer material and emotional help for their times of great need. They will pray for their enemies and seek to do them good instead of evil.
Choosing to dress up in a Halloween costume may or may not be your fancy. But make sure that who you are every day is not a religious masquerade. Do your actions demonstrate your real heart attitudes? Your facade may trick others, but God knows the truth.