Today is the last day of April, so therefore, it is the last day of the bloggers’ A to Z Challenge. Phew! It’s been fun, but exhausting, posting daily, creating daily. Today’s theme is the letter Z. I had no clue what I was going to post about for the letter Z. Last night in the shower, God reminded me that He has written a book in the Old Testament through His prophet Zephaniah. So we will be talking a little bit about that today.
The Context of the Book
Zephaniah was a prophet that penned the prophesy he received during the reign of King Josiah. He was a descendant of King Hezekiah who was a Godly king, as was Josiah. However, Josiah’s father Amon was an evil king.
During the reign of King Manasseh, Amon’s father, the country was going in a very bad direction. That continued through Amon’s rule. They were killing children, living in sexual perversion, worshipping idols, and ignoring the Lord God. He erected “high places” that were temples for false gods. The Israelites had strayed so far from the Lord that His priests were bringing evil things and ideas into the Temple. That’s where God resided then. They were actually doing evil in His home. So when Josiah came to rule the country was long gone. Speaking morally here..
The Content of the Book
Zephaniah’s book is only three chapters long. He begs the Israelites to open their eyes, repent of their sins, and run back to God. I’m sure like most of us do, they ignored his warnings. God told him that He was going to punish the nation and destroy the city of Jerusalem and let the people be swept away because of their evil ways. That was His warning in the first chapter. He also told them that they wouldn’t be able to live and enjoy the wealth they had accumulated and the vineyards they had planted and taken care of. They would be given the those who would plunder the country when they were overthrown.
The second chapter focuses on God’s anger and wrath on the nations and peoples who were against the Israelites. God heard the boasting of other nations against Judah. He watched them mock His chosen people. He witnessed the gentile nations oppress them constantly. God told Zephaniah that He would not tolerate it much longer. About a decade later, God’s wrath was visited in Assyria and it’s capitol Ninevah when they were overthrown by the Babylonians. God won’t sit by and watch His people be oppressed forever.
The final chapter has not yet happened. Zephaniah spoke of the day of the Lord when God’s judgement will come on the entire world. He will punish the wicked and purge it, so that He may dwell with the people in it. I can’t wait for the day we dwell with Him forever!
What does this mean for us? How does it apply?
Let us compare ourselves to the ancient Israelites. Pretty clear comparison, right? We can look around and see babies being killed, with blessings! Crazy! We were told we couldn’t worship God for over a year. Many “churches” aren’t Jesus-centered anymore. Prophesy isn’t taught, and heaven forbid we should hear a sermon on hell! People don’t want to hear that! They want to hear what a good job they are doing to make it to Sunday service for twenty minutes of preaching. Then we head back into a life of sin without a second thought. God hits the nail on the head when in Zephaniah 1:12 the people are thinking and saying, “…the Lord won’t do evil or good.” Most “Christians” are thinking that today. “If we’re just not that evil, we’ll be ok. God will kind of ignore us. He won’t do evil or good against us if we act ok.” It seems to be the norm now. So we let the world in, we let it teach our children that evil is good and good is evil. They say we should focus on “science.” But honestly they don’t want them to actually 100% believe the hard, cold facts of science.
We can look at the way God warns us before He inevitably has to punish us. We see the patterns over and over in the Bible. God warns us, then He has to follow through and punish us when we don’t heed His warnings. After that He gathers us back to Himself in a wonderful act of forgiveness. The blessings He pours over us when He draws us to Him are immense. But right now He’s trying to warn us. Telling us He will not tolerate the killing of unborn babies and other innocents forever. He will not tolerate the forsaking of ourselves gathering in His name forever. He won’t tolerate hate and divisiveness forever. And He will not tolerate the mockery that some are making of His people and His Laws and Word forever.
We need to be prepared to face his judgements, but we can turn back now! Bow down before Him and beg for the forgiveness that He so freely wants to give. He doesn’t want to punish His children. I know I certainly don’t like to have to punish mine! Let’s turn back. Let’s stand up for what is right! Gather together and pray again, worship again. Not that watered down version that we have all gotten used to. Stand up for your families, stand up for our nation, stand up for Jesus who laid down His life for you in an amazing act of love! Stand up for what is right, not what’s easy. I’m preaching to myself here people! Let’s unify and love one another as God does. He loves us all the same! See each other as he does, and we will all be so much happier!
Thank you so much Wifers for sticking with me this month for the A to Z Challenge! I will be back to posting my Designing Devotions in May. Make sure you enter your email address at the bottom of on the side of your screen. That will ensure you don’t miss a post! You will get an email every time that I upload a new post.
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