Saturday, July 20, 2013
Scratching the Surface of Zephaniah
Scratching the Surface of Zephaniah
If we're really excited about Jesus as Lord and Savior, we're compelled to worship Him as often as we can with excessively effervescent praise and thanks for His saving graces from here to eternity along with ever-increasing passion to obey Him because He deserves our obedience and it's the only way to tap into His best graces.
Sadly, there are too many people pretending kinship to Him who aren't really that excited about Him and it shows by their deadly expressionless worship services and lives that are mere winks than robustly regular witnesses; or as Gwen Shaw noted as confirmation of conversion, "You must live the manner of life that reveals to the world that you have an intimate relationship with...[God]..."
From everything that can be seen, our world, nation, and too many churches don't really believe in God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior; for if they/we did, they/we would surely order our lives much differently with Him as the focus and filter of everything said and done.
If God is really to be believed, there are consequences to behaviors honoring Him and dishonoring Him.
That, of course, is an undeniable thread weaving through the entire fabric of Holy Scripture.
Zephaniah is no exception.
Essentially, he says two things.
First, the day is coming when God will separate the sheep from the goats just like Jesus said in Matthew 25.
Second, anyone can avoid being on the wrong side of His judgment by getting back to Him before that day arrives.
Getting back to the first point, the day of judgment is coming.
Jesus said no one knows when that day is coming; but that day is coming and we don't want to be caught with our pants down when it comes!
Zephaniah issues the strong warning about not being on the right side of judgment: "I will wipe away...When I cut off...I will remove...I will use My power against...I will punish...You will hear cries...Sounds of destruction...Everything they value will be taken away...I'm warning you, this day of judgment is right around the corner...Here it comes!...It will be very bitter...You will see what happens when God is furious...You will be overwhelmed with all the trouble and pain - total destruction...I will bring distress on all humanity...Because they have sinned time and again...Don't think any amount of money can save them from the terrible anger of God when that day arrives...He will consume the whole earth in His fiery jealousy, for He is going to expedite the annihilation of every living thing on the earth."
Let's ask ourselves, "Who really believes that? What does the world's, America's, churches', and our behaviors say about what we believe about that/Him?
Zephaniah urged for those who still believe enough to alter their behaviors and escape being burned, "You shameless bunch of people, gather together now and pray. Do it while there is still time, before all these terrible things happen. I'm warning you they are beginning to happen..."
Then he announces the good news that it is still possible to get back to Him before it's too late: "Seek God...Only He can save you...Call out to Him...Pursue what is just...Chase after true humility...Maybe God will hide and protect you from what will happen on that terrible day when His anger is unleashed."
I think of the fellow who says to his buddy while eating breakfast in a local diner, "I am Napoleon!" His friend asks, "How do you know?" He replies, "God told me!" And as the waitress pours their coffee, she chimes in, "I did not!"
Our world, America, too many churches, and maybe even...must sound like that to God; for all of the below often act as if all of the above is not watching.
To such a world, such a country, such churches, and maybe even..., the prophet's voice echoes, "Roll the dice!"
Buuuuuuut make no mistake about it/Him, the best book revealing our Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior says, summarily, "trust and obey...for there's no other way...to be happy...but to trust and obey..."
Listen to Zephaniah's good news for those who behave like they believe in Him: "God is standing right here among you...He is the champion who will rescue you...He will joyfully celebrate over you...He says, 'Don't be sad anymore...On that day, I will gather all of you together for one big homecoming...Right before your eyes, I will restore to you all that you have lost, and your lives will be full again.'"
Praise the Lord!
Yes, praise the Lord!
It's/He's the only way not to be left behind when that day comes.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!