I read through the little book of Zephaniah today.(We’re snowed in.)
Have you ever read the minor prophets? It’s not for the faint of heart. Unlike the positivity thinking so prevalent in today’s American churches, these books do not gloss over the negative. Zephaniah is a short, one-two punch. Judgement is coming. God’s people and the church leaders (ch. 3:4) are among the guilty. Brace yourself.
The contrasts in God’s declarations are so vivid, it makes one reel with the truths revealed.
One example: “I will utterly consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fish of the sea, and the stumbling blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from the land, says the LORD.” Zeph. 1:2-3
The contrast: ” Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be he shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” Zeph. 2:3
Maybe, like me, you struggle to deal with the changes that chronic illness brings. Just when you thought you may have one phase mastered, a new twist hits. The meds change, diagnosis shifts, the doctor scenario changes –a lot hinges on a good doctor — and your life is turned upside down yet again.
Chaos, war, judgment, destruction! Where is the hope in this? Keep reading!
“The just LORD is in the midst thereof; He will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring His judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.” Zeph. 3:5
The just LORD does not sin. He is in the middle of our lives, working in ways we cannot fathom.
One evidence of His true work in our lives is the same fruit He gives those who trusted Him in Zephaniah’s prophecy: ” 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, none shall make them afraid. ” Zephaniah 3:13
Safety, food, and rest! These most basic needs based on truth and trust are being met by God Himself for His children.
In the hands of their enemies, safety, food, and rest were never certain.
Now read these words of amazing comfort given to God’s people at end of this book of woes.
“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… (3:17)
…Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee:
and I will save her that halteth,
and gather her that was driven out…” (3:19)
The end of your story and mine isn’t here and now. Keep reading.
Like me, you may seen a lot of heartbreak and misery unfold.
For Israel, war and captivity magnified misery.
Chronic pain and illness twists the knife in our daily living.
Relief is coming. It’s already paid for in full. ” HE has made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
Your life may feel like a just another tale of human woe, but those that trust in the LORD will never be disappointed in the end!
Anyone want to just skip now to the end of the story? I know. Me, too. I can’t wait to read the end of your grace-filled story, either. Let’s pray for that ending where we glorify God and enjoy Him forever, together.