Reading Zephaniah made me think of our country, and all of us here in the USA. Although Judah had made occasional attempts at renewal, the people had no sorrow for their sins. They had allowed material comforts to become a barrier to their commitment to God. Prosperity had caused an attitude of self-sufficiency, not realizing that only God could save them. Although warned by God himself, through the prophets, they did not believe the message was actually from God. Kind of like people today, who say part of the Bible is missing, so they don’t believe it. If we refuse to listen to God’s Word, we are as shortsighted as the people of Judah, and we will be punished. The first chapter of Zephaniah describes how God’s anger will be poured out because they had sinned against Him by worshipping false gods, and even sacrificing their children.
Zephaniah 1:17-18 “17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” If we want to be saved from final judgment of sin we can be saved, but we must recognize that we’ve sinned and only God can save us, through repentance and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Zephaniah 2:1-3 “2 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” There is still time to avert God’s judgment. We simply need to turn from sin, humble ourselves and obey God.
Zephaniah 2:7 “7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.” There’ll be a remnant of people who cleave to His Word and truly love Him. Are you part of it? At my church, I truly feel part of a remnant, because we are so few in number!
God cannot stay angry forever with us if we are truly His children, because He loves us and wants us to prosper. Verses 9 through 11 describe how God will avenge His people (that’s us if you claim Jesus as your Lord).
Zephaniah 2:8-9 “8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border. 9 Therefore as I live, saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.”
Zephaniah 3:1-2 “1 Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! 2 She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.” People in Jerusalem pretended to worship and serve God but their hearts weren’t really in love with Him and they were complacent and no longer cared about the consequences for their sins. Are we like that here in our country?
Zephaniah 3:9 “9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. 11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. 12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. 13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. 14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15 The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.”
God wants all to be saved!
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”