Timing, Turmoil, Trust.

Just before deadline - time, stress or rush concept.

Timing is everything. We are repeatedly reminded through scripture that God has a plan and we are to put our faith and trust in Him. Habakkuk was getting tired of waiting, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not save”. “Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?” The culture surrounding the time of Habakkuk was in a deep dark place far from God, they had once again forgotten who He was. From Habakkuk’s perspective things couldn’t get any worse and yet it did, God was going to use an unbelieving nation to destroy the people who turned away from God. In his prayer in chapter 3 Habakkuk calls on God to remember mercy in His wrath as He dealt with the people, Habakkuk was remembering the people who continued to follow God. Throughout this time in a culture of wickedness and unfaithfulness there were still those who stayed true to serving the Lord.

We read a similar message in the book of Zephaniah not just for a nation but also for judgment on the whole earth, “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth, declares the Lord… When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth”. Each time I read through these books I begin to understand a little bit more of the burden that this message would have had on the prophets. Yes, these were men of God, faithful and true to His word but they were still men, they had all the same pressures of the culture and society around them. Zephaniah writes in chapter two a big part of “making it through” was their hope and faith in God, it was an attitude of humility before Him that would see them saved from the day of the Lord’s anger.

The message we read through the last pages of the Minor Prophets is one of hope and continued restoration of the relationship of God and His people. We begin to see the process of rebuilding faith in loving and forgiving God. Zechariah chapter 8 outlines the Lords promises to bless Jerusalem, verses four and five picture two generations of believers that hold the key to a change in the culture. The picture is of the (old) faithful remnant watching as the next generation of boys and girls move forward in carrying on what they have brought so far. This is a picture of hope that we must be striving towards today as we pass on our faith to the generations behind us.

Judgment, Repentance and Hope

gavel01Reflection on the book of Zephaniah as a whole.

Continuing to work through the Minor Prophets I feel like I am always writing about the same things; judgment, a call for repentance and a promise of hope for the remnant of God’s people. This seems to be a forgotten message over and over again as the people continued to fall into a world of sin and disobedience. The prophecies given by each of the Minor Prophets are powerful reminders for us still today of how we all continually need to hear the message of judgment, repentance and hope.

As I read through Zephaniah I stopped to reflect around on the promises made to “all you humble of the land” (2:3) and “the meek and humble” (3:12). As we read about the judgment on those who fail to follow God it is those who humble themselves before Him that will be sheltered or hidden from the day of the Lords anger. Zephaniah’s call, was to help the people understand why God was going to cast judgment on them.

Zephaniah speaks of judgment and blessing, a severe and relentless judgment and yet this morning I am encouraged by the words of blessing for those who remained faithful. I was reflecting on the words of Jesus found at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount as a great reminder and encouragement. Blessed are the meek, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted and the merciful. Gods faithfulness to those who love and follow Him is unchanging, we have that promise today just like the faithful remnant in the time of Zephaniah. God continues to bless me and my family and I am thankful for the hope I can have in Him to one day bring us into a place where we can be with Him.