Focal Passage: Zephaniah 3:8-17
Imagine a nation full of corrupt leaders who refused justice and prohibited fair trial. Rather than speaking up on behalf of others, officials ravaged them instead. Instead of protecting the vulnerable, judges provoked them without constraint. Imagine prophets who avoided prophesy, and priests who forgot their God. This was the state of Jerusalem and the nations at the time of Zephaniah’s prophesy.
The speech of the leaders was weak and profane, yet they were shameless. Unlike them, God spoke with clarity and truth through His prophet: the Day of the Lord was coming when He would judge and punish their sin.
He would ruin their streets and empty their cities of inhabitants. Yet in that day He would also save those who called on Him. He would be merciful to the repentant.
From the beginning God has desired to dwell among His people. In the garden, He walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. When they rejected His word and hid from His presence, what did He do? Though omnipresent, He called to them. Though omniscient, He asked them what they had done. At the moment of their greatest shame, God made Himself present among them.
He met with Moses in the desert. Though His people complained, He fed them with manna. He inspired David to song and Solomon to wisdom. He guarded His people, protecting them, feeding them and leading them back when they strayed. God delights in fellowship with us, but He is holy. His holiness is a mystery that we may never fully understand. Whatever we can imagine at our most innocent and creative, God is greater – more pure and more powerful. Yet throughout the Old Testament, He guarded a remnant for Himself. He made promises, and He kept them. He drew His people away from sin and into fellowship with Him.
In the midst of unjust circumstances or difficult times, God can be trusted. Through Christ, we can be forgiven and redeemed. We can again worship Him in innocence – in spirit and in truth.