“Should ye not hear the words which the Lord hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?” — Zechariah 7:7
God’s answer to them through Zechariah was twofold. First, he rebuked the heart behind their fasting (v.5-7). They were going through the motions of fasting, but it wasn’t really for the Lord. It was just empty ritual. Instead of looking for new direction, they should have listened to what God had already said to them through earlier (“former”) prophets.
Second, God elaborated on what listening to these earlier prophets meant (v.8-14). It meant living out the teaching of God’s law and God’s word in how they treated others. Instead of listening and obeying, they hardened their hearts, pulled away, and stopped their ears. This brought great wrath upon them resulting in unanswered prayer, national scattering, and desolation of their land.
Verse 13 is particularly sobering where God says that just as they did not hear when God cried to them through their prophets, so He refused to hear when they cried to Him.
What a challenge this is to us! Instead of looking for new revelation and further direction, we need to re-read what God has already said in His Word. There is so much in it that we still fail to obey and do. If we listen to God, then we can expect Him to listen to us. What has God already said that we are failing to listen to?