Morning Musing: Zephaniah 3:8-9

“Therefore, wait for me — this is the Lord’s declaration — until the day I rise up for plunder. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, in order to pour out my indignation on them, all my burning anger; for the whole earth will be consumed by the fire of my jealousy. For I will then restore pure speech to the peoples so that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with a single purpose.”
— ‭‭Zephaniah‬ ‭3:8-9‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

I remember reading the first Lord of the Rings book when I was in college. The only thing I regretted was that I waited so long to read it. I eventually burned through the second and third books on a single week trip to South Carolina with my family that summer. After finishing the first book, I remember talking to a friend and being absolutely distraught that Gandalf had died in the end. He just smiled a knowing smile and said, “Keep reading.” What He knew was that the story wasn’t over. That’s a pretty good reminder for what we see here.

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Digging in Deeper: Zephaniah 3:5

“The righteous Lord is in her; he does no wrong. He applies his justice morning by morning; he does not fail at dawn, yet the one who does wrong knows no shame.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

“Shame on you!” Have you ever heard that before? Have you ever said that before? The answer is probably yes on both counts. It is for me. Why? What is shame that it would be projected onto us by other people or by us onto them? And besides, isn’t shame a bad thing? We’re sure told as much by our culture. We should live lives that are free from shame, shouldn’t we? Well, yes, but maybe not for the reason you think. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Zephaniah 2:11

“The Lord will be terrifying to them when he starves all the gods of the earth. Then all the distant coasts and islands of the nations will bow in worship to him, each in its own place.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever joined a club before? You probably have. There are clubs for pretty much every interest you could imagine. Some are open to everyone. Some are more exclusive. Some don’t have very stringent requirements for membership while others are much more personally invasive. If you join one of these clubs, you are expected to adhere to the membership standards whatever they happen to be. What if someone came and tried to penalize you for failing to uphold the rules of a club you never joined? Odds are, you wouldn’t like that very much. With that in mind, let’s talk about this section of Zephaniah.

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Morning Musing: Zephaniah 2:3

“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who carry out what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord’s anger.”
— ‭‭Zephaniah‬ ‭2:3‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

When I was in high school I got to perform in a percussion ensemble for state competition. Our piece was the Mau Mau Suite. I don’t really remember that much about it except it was a lot of fun to play and one of the movements was called “The Gods Must Be Angry.” That idea came to mind when reading this verse. In most human cultures across the ages, much of the activity and decisions of the people were driven by this thought that the gods must be angry. Because they are angry, they must be appeased. How do you do that? Well…it’s hard to say. It serves to make religion and life kind of scary. What we see here gives us a small reminder that the God of the Bible isn’t like that.

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Morning Musing: Zephaniah 1:12-13

“And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who settled down comfortably, who say to themselves: The Lord will do nothing–good or bad. Their wealth will become plunder and their houses a ruin. They will build houses but never live in them, plant vineyards but never drink their wine.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Lisa and I have recently been watching through a series that popped up on our Hulu account called “Extreme Homes.” The show takes viewers inside a whole variety of houses that are “extreme” in one way or another. Some are small, some are huge, but they are all unique. But while they come in all shapes and sizes, the one thing they all have in common is that they are owned by people who are wealthy. They are homes built with the intention of being able to set aside all worries and concerns and just enjoy life. In many ways, that’s not just the American dream, but the dream of everyone, everywhere. Based on what God says to the people of Judah here, though, it sounds like it might be more of a nightmare.

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