August 31, Reading 2 – Zephaniah 3

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Jerusalem Above is the future God has for His people. Jerusalem Below (earthly, present Jerusalem) is the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled. It has no future with God.

SJA Notes

Zephaniah goes deeper with and expands on what we have been wrestling with.

The Lord _will_ remove His enemies, those proud and haughty.

And then this, “But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly.”

What a hope! This is for us!

“They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD” – Time and again throughout God’s word we are called to take refuge in Him, in His name.

The hope we have is bigger too than any worldly understanding – “For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”

Fear of the world, of powers and principalities; in Jesus we are able to stand secure and unafraid. This is a good thing to dwell on!

And look, here is Jesus!

“The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.”

And again, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;”

Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

* Father God,

Rejoice over us with gladness, and quiet us with Your love, exult over us with loud singing.

Refine us Lord God, make us into Your people in spirit and in truth!

And Saviour Lord, please save those around us, our loved ones, our neighbours. Those lost in darkness and outside the camp.

Amen.

August 30, Reading 2 – Zephaniah 2

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Zephaniah cries out: seek the LORD, seek righteousness, seek humility. The NKJV puts the translation: It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger. Jew and Gentile, all are accountable to God for their actions, policies, plans. Whatever other Australians do, let us seek the Lord!

SJA Notes

Here is a truth, a reality, that Zephaniah’s words tell us in this passage today.

The Lord’s anger burns against both His people in their sin (and He one of the vehicles for repentance was using other nations) AND those nations He uses, when they think it’s their own strength and wisdom that brings about their rising to power over His people (or just rising in general).

This is a general purpose the Lord has, is working out, will bring to completion at the end; for all the earth to bow to Him.

“The LORD will be awesome against them; for he will famish all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bown down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations.”

Let’s be encouraged to wrestle with this as applicable in our world today, with all that is happening (and has happened in generations past, and will happen in those to come).

* Gracious Father,

Put within us a longing for the day when all the nations, all the lands, bow down before You.

Affect within us a motivation and desire to promote Your gospel, to bring Your name glory, to live as Your people in Your kingdom under Your rule.

Amen.

August 29, Reading 2 – Zephaniah 1

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Josiah was a godly king who turned to God with all his heart, soul and strength. Yet the kingdom hardly survived his death in battle. Zephaniah’s message is one of judgment on an obstinate and unrepentant Jerusalem and the people of Judah who opposed passively and actively their Messiah, Josiah.

SJA Notes

Remember Josiah?

We read this in 2 Kings 23, “Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”

Back in ch 22 as well we read, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.”

That’s some reference huh!

Josiah was fervent in his desire to please the Lord, and he worked hard at removing idolatry from Israel.

AND YET.

Note: This is the oppposite kind of “yet” from what we read at the end of Habakkuk yesterday.

And yet Israel, Jerusalem; and yet they rejected the Lord.

Listen to what the Lord says of His people that have turned their back on Him!

“I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.”

This isn’t a tap on the hand from the Lord. It’s not a gentle rebuke.

Instead, “In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.”

How much should this resonate with us! And remind us of Jesus’ return.

We only have to read through the final chapters in God’s word, at the end of Revelation, to hear and see the parallels (many of these OT books give a reality that is reviewed again in Revelation).

We read in Rev ch 22, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.”

Who is coming?

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

Our _ONLY_ hope in life is found in Jesus. Solely and wholly. Only in Him will we find rescue from God’s just and consuming wrath.

* Holy God,

We come before You today, reading from Your word here in Zephaniah; Lord and we would pray that please, in Your mercy and grace, please open our eyes to see, our ears to hear, our hearts to understand what You want us to know today.

Often we put aside what we don’t like to hear. Please stop this behaviour if it is in us. Mark us as a faithful and humble and MEEK people, who submit themselves under You, under Your will, hearing Your word.

Please write Your word on our hearts Lord God, this day and onwards.

Amen.