The Humble WILL be Rewarded – ZEPHANIAH – Chapter 3e [13]

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. –  Philippines 3:14

 

9))  “Then I will purify the speech of all people,
so that everyone can worship the Lord together.
10))  My scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
will come to present their offerings.
11))  On that day you will no longer need to be ashamed,
for you will no longer be rebels against me.
I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you.
There will be no pride on my holy mountain.
12))  Those who are left will be the lowly and humble,
for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord.
13)) The remnant of Israel will do no wrong;
they will never tell lies or deceive one another.
They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid.”

 

Comparing Genesis 11:1-9, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-2W, and Zephaniah 3:9-13 we see that people were/will be coming together for a single purpose, yet their motivations are quite different. In Genesis 11:1-9, the people are coming together to make themselves famous, Genesis 11:4. Whereas, in Zephaniah 3:9-13, they will be coming together to humbly worship God.

Verses 11-13 tell us that we can look forward to the day when the humble will be rewarded. Rewarded because they lived their earthly lives trusting God, listening and following Him.  They not only listened to God’s word, but they did what it said,  James 1:22.

This is the same day, the day of hope, we pray and look forward to, when we pray, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,  Matthew 6:10.

The day of hope is a “real” day.  A day when those who have humbled themselves, yielding themselves to God vs. self-reliance and pride, will enjoy fellowship with God and God-followers.

Can We Continue Avoiding God’s Ways Without Consequences? – ZEPHANIAH – 3a – [9]

… as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:15b

 

Chapter 3 begins with frustration and head shaking.  (My thoughts in bold.)

 

1))  What sorrow awaits rebellious,           
polluted Jerusalem,                                 
the city of violence and crime!  

Jerusalem may think that they can continue down a polluted, immoral, selfish path without consequences. God is clear, however, that they will not escape justice.

2))  No one can tell it anything; 
it refuses all correction. 
It does not trust in the LORD
or draw near to its God.  

Sounds like what you may hear in school, in the workplace, propagated on TV shows. Those who are wise in their own eyes – Isaiah 5:21.  They don’t know God, let alone have a relationship with Him.

3))  Its leaders are like roaring lions
hunting for their victims.                          
Its judges are like ravenous wolves
at evening time, who by dawn have
left no trace of their prey.                        
4))  Its prophets are arrogant liars
seeking their own gain. Its priests
defile the Temple by disobeying
God’s instructions.   

Verses 3-4 describes the misguided leadership of the day. Leaders are supposed to guide, direct, help navigate people to safety and growth. Yet the leaders of the day did anything but that.  Who are the leaders of our day?  Music and movie/TV personalities, the   “popular” kids at school? Who do we look up to?  Who are we looking to when as we seek to know Truth?  Are we complacent, satisfied with relative truth or do we seek and apply the absolute truth of God’s Word?

Can it Appear that I’m Following God? – ZEPHANIAH – Chapter 1b – [3]

If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison, — your father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters, — yes even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:26

God had sent in reinforcements to assist King Josiah, the prophet Zephaniah.  We see in 2 Chronicles 34:3a, Josiah began to seek God when he was 16 years old.  At 20 years old he began purifying Judah and Jerusalem, destroying ALL the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. – 34 Chronicles 34:3b. And it wasn’t until he was 26 years old, that the Book of the Law was found.

The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll.  And he required everyone in Jerusalem and the people of Benjamin to make a similar pledge. The people of Jerusalem did so, renewing their covenant with God, the God of their ancestors. – 2 Chronicles 34:31-32

If everything seems to be flowing along just fine, why does God send Zephaniah to the people of Judah (http://www.biblehub.com/nlt/zephaniah/1.htm) slamming down his fist,  preaching fire and brimstone, and the imminent wrath of God?

It is because of what we read above in 2 Chronicles 34:31-32. Josiah sought God, Josiah repentant inwardly. And perhaps even more importantly those inward convictions resulted in outward/visible signs of repentance, and his trust and hope in God.  The people of Judah and Jerusalem, however, did not share King Josiah’s conviction.  Sure they obeyed the King’s orders, renewing their covenant with God. But they only did that because He (KING Josiah) required everyone to pledge the faith in God. – 2 Chronicles 34:32

The people of Judah and Jerusalem only paid the king, and God, lip-service. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. – Isaiah 29:13

Can an 8 Year Old Impact a Nation? – ZEPHANIAH – Chapter 1a – [2]

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. – Acts 3:19

Before getting into the warnings of Zephaniah to the people of Judah, let’s look at the back story of King Josiah.  His story begins in 2 Kings 22.

Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem for 31 years.
He followed God’s ways and was not afraid to do what was right.

When Josiah was 26 years old he assigned workers to begin restoration of the temple.
In the process of restoring the temple, the high priest, Hilkiah found the Book of the Law (Genesis – Deuteronomy).  It had been disregarded for so many years during the reign of evil kings that no one knew where it was, let alone reference it.

Once the Book of the Law was brought to Josiah’s attention, he tore his clothes in despair. – 2 Kings 22:11  He then sent the high priest, the court secretary, and his personal advisor to the temple to speak to the Lord for him, the people, and all of Judah.
Although Josiah’s understanding of the scroll was limited, he did believe that the Lords’s anger is burning against us (people of Judah) because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in the scroll, and not doing the things the scroll says to do. – 2 Kings 22:13b

Sure enough, Josiah was correct about God’s anger with the people.  After consulting the prophetess Huldah, Josiah received this message from God –  You, Josiah, were sorry and humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I said against this city and its people, that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. So I have indeed heard you, says the LORD. I will not send the promised disaster against this city until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this place. – 2 Chronicles 34:27

And so would begin the repentance and restoration of Judah and Jerusalem.