The fast of Tisha B’Av was a time of mourning over the consequences of Israel’s actions in not following the voice of God. The Lord spoke to Zechariah about this fast: “You did not listen when I called to you. For that reason, I have not listened when you called to Me” (see Zechariah 7:13). This should be a warning to us today. If the Lord is not hearing our prayers, or if we are in devastating circumstances, we should make this Tisha B’Av a time to repent of our own lack of response to God’s voice. Only then can we activate the promise that He will turn the fast into a feast of rejoicing.
The fast of the fifth month, known as Tisha B’Av, is considered the saddest day of the Hebrew year because it observes several disastrous events that happened in Jewish history, starting with the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by the Babylonians in 423 BCE. The book of Zechariah records that this fast was observed during the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple after the Babylonian captivity. When Zechariah inquired of the Lord about this fast, the Lord made it clear that Israel and Judah would continue to live with the consequences of their rebellion if they observed this fast for themselves and refused to listen to His voice.
As Christians we cannot look on this fast as something for Jews only. Many of us today have seen what we built being torn down just like the Temple was. We seem to be losing the battles that we are fighting and are living with disastrous circumstances in our lives. Maybe these are outward signs and consequences that God is using to get our attention to lead us into fasting and prayer.
In Tisha B’Av we have an opportunity to look at the times of shaking and shattering in our lives and ask God to bring His grace and forgiveness and restore our relationship with Him. The Lord is always in a process of making all things work together for our good and bringing us into the fulfillment of all that He has for us in our lives. So we enter into the fasting and mourning of Tisha B’Av by faith, knowing that the promise of God is that the Lord will hear us if we turn our hearts to Him—and He will turn our fasting and mourning into days of joy, gladness, and cheerful feasting.
- Zechariah 7:2-14. “Shall I weep in the fifth month and abstain, as I have done?”
- Zechariah 8:13-23.“The fast … will become joy, gladness, and cheerful feasts.”
- Leviticus 26:14-46.“If … you act with hostility against Me, then I will act with hostility against you.”
- 2 Chronicles 7:11-14.“Then I will hear from heaven … and will heal their land.”
- Isaiah 58:6-8.“Is this not the fast which I choose?”
- Isaiah 58:9-12.“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.“For the Spirit searches all things.”
- Psalm 139:23.“Search me, O God, and know my heart.”
- Romans 8:26-28.“He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is.”
- Haggai 2:5-7.“I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.”
- Hebrews 12:26-27.“… so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”
- Haggai 2:8-9.“The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former.”
- “Are we seeking the Lord because we’re really seeking Him and looking to find His will and His ways, or are we doing this so that we seem more righteous and religious?”
- “As the Church enters into fasting and crying out to God during Tisha B’Av, I believe there is going to come a reversal of the anti-Semitism in our day to the point that people will say to Jews, ‘Take us with you to the house of God because we heard that God is with you.’”
- “As Christians, we must understand that we have the Holy Spirit to assist us in the process of seeking Him in praying and fasting. Our spirits, guided by the Holy Spirit, are able to search our own hearts and to make us aware of the areas of blindness and disobedience in our lives.”
- “The latter glory of what God is bringing forth in your life will always be greater than the former glory of that which God has allowed to be shaken down and destroyed surrounding you.”
- Recognize that God is the Master of your circumstances. Expect Him to turn the negative events and circumstances in your life to good.
- Look at your circumstances honestly and objectively as places and points of repentance. Know that if you love Him and seek Him with honest repentance, He will bless you. He is shaking you and bringing you into a time of repentance because He has something better for you and wants to bring you a greater blessing.
- Do what the Lord said to do: He wants us to humble ourselves; He wants us to pray; and He wants us to seek His face and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14).