“When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month … was it for me that you fasted?” (7:5). When Israel’s leaders asked if they should keep the regular fasts, God questioned their motives. He reminded them that empty religious rituals were a mockery; real devotion to God means: “Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor …” (7:9-10). This is the kind of community where God’s presence is obvious, and outsiders hear and want to join (8:22-23).
“I am zealous for Zion” (8:2). God continues to be “zealous” in His desire to make us people whose actions and words reflect His own character.