I’m not that bad. Really. I’m not.
I’m a good person. God loves me. I’m sure of it. He blesses me too.
I try hard. Ask anyone who knows me.
I’m nice. Even to people who make it hard.
I don’t hate people. Other’s do, but not me. I’d never hate. That’s bad.
I’ve never done anything really wicked like murder or bad stuff like that.
I pray lots. When I need something. And I read my Bible. It’s not too dusty.
I go to church. All the time. And I serve there. I even give there.
I’m a real good guy. God would never judge me.
How sinful is your goodness?
How wicked is your self-righteousness?
How deceived is your self-justification?
God does judge.
God’s love for us is greater than our ability to deceive ourselves. Our sin does not go unnoticed. By Him. No matter what we think other people see or think about us. He is Sovereign.
Zephaniah was a prophet to Judah in the mid Seventh Century BC. Zephaniah was a member of Judean royal household. And as a member of the royal household he’d know first hand about the righteousness to sinfulness roller coaster his people had been on with his ancestors over the last decades. Good kings to bad kings. Following the God to following false gods. He prophesied early in the reign of Josiah (640-609 BC). The righteous king’s reforms must not have taken too good a hold yet, as Zephaniah fearlessly confronts the pervasive idolatry of his people.
God’s people Judah had seen Israel, their Northern Kingdom counterparts, carried off to slavery by God’s judgment in 722 BC. Yet Judah persisted pandering to the same idolatrous gods. All the while the people of Judah seemed to think, “We’re not as bad as those guys. We’re really God’s people. We have Jerusalem here. God won’t judge us.”
Our position before God is not determined by our parentage, but our devotion.
Our position before God is not determined by our church membership, but our righteousness.
Our position before God is not determined by any matrix of our own, but by the blood of Jesus.
Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger. Zephaniah 2:3
God judges disobedience no matter who or where. Even so, God extends His grace to a remnant.
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
What stands out to you as you read or listen to the 53 verses of Zephaniah?
What does Zephaniah teach us about God’s character?
What does Zephaniah teach us about human nature?
How can you apply these truths from Zephaniah to your life?