Lent - Week Three - Zephaniah
Another prophet whom God called because of the worship of false gods. This is not the first time that idolatry has been at the forefront of God’s anger and more than one has been called upon to warn the Israelites to change.
As we enter Lent and listen to these warnings our thoughts must also hear the same condemnation of our worshiping modern idols. They may not look alike but serve the same function which all draw us toward treasures that replace the true God.
“I will completely sweep away all things from the face of the earth, says the Lord. I will sweep away man and beast, I will sweep away the birds of the sky, and the fishes of the sea. I will overthrow the wicked; I will destroy mankind from the face of the earth, says the Lord I will stretch out my hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; I will destroy from this place the last vestige of Baal, the very names of his priests, and those who adore the host of heaven on the roofs, with those who adore the Lord but swear by Milcom; and those who have fallen away from the Lord , and those who do not seek the Lord. Silence in the presence of the Lord God! for near is the day of the Lord.” (Zep. 1: 2-7).
We have read that the same scenario occurred in Genesis when God approached Noah and because of their sinfulness God was going to clean house, so to speak. “When the Lord saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved.” (Gen. 6: 5 -6).
Our hope, especially this Lenten season, is not a disappointment to God who awaits our total dedication to this opportunity to seek his mercy and forgiveness.
“Gather, gather yourselves together, O nation without shame! Before you are driven away, like chaff that passes on; Before there comes upon you the blazing anger of the Lord; Before there comes upon you the day of the Lord’s anger. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, whom have observed his law; seek justice, seek humility; perhaps you may be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.”
(Zep. 2” 1- 3).
Words that could fit each of us as the thoughts of how God has left an opening without restrictions to pledge our sinfulness to the grace of God.
“On that day you need not be ashamed of all your deeds, your rebellious actions against me; For then will I remove from your midst the proud braggarts, and you shall no longer exalt yourself on my holy mountain. But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord.” “Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has removed the judgement against you.” (Zep. 3: 11-12, 14 - 15).
A perfect forgiveness after the wrath of God’s anger which will now clear our sinfulness by the sacrifice on Calvary.
Ralph B. Hathaway, the promise to Jerusalem and us who await the culmination of the Crucifixion.