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.

What if I Mess Up? – ZEPHANIAH – Chapter 3c – [11]

I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. – Revelation 20:12

 

We learned in verses 1-8, that although we may choose a path contrary to God’s, God does not immediately wash His hands of us. He’s always providing opportunities for us to repent and restore our relationship with Him. Remember that in verses 1-8, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-1X and http://wp.me/p5nZpi-21, we saw that God allows all people, to exercise free will.  And it’s free will that often gets us into trouble, forcing us to make choices between our way/culture’s influence vs God’s way.

Be reminded from these verses that those who choose their own way will one day be punished, while those who seek to follow God’s ways will be blessed.

Before looking at Zephaniah 3:9-13, let’s take a moment to read about The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9.  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+11%3A1-9&version=NLT.

As you read this passage see if you can determine:

  • what the people came together to build
  • the reason they wanted to build ______, and
  • God’s reaction/response to their plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What Do I Need to do to Get Through to My People?”, asks God – ZEPHANIAH – 3b – [10]

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. – 2 Peter 3:9

 

Continuing with verses 5-8, God-followers are reassured of His presence, while God’s frustration remains for those who choose their own way.  (My thoughts in bold.)

 

5)) But the LORD is still there in the city,           

We’re reminded again, God doesn’t leave us.  He is the rock, never moving.  We move farther and farther away from Him with the choices we make.
                                                                             
Day by day he hands down justice,                 
and he does not fail.                            

God is reprimanding and redirecting people. He is available to the remnant that calls on His name.

But the wicked know no shame.    

“It works for me”, “I’m happy” – Ohhh, really ????  How many times have we thought to ourselves, “Don’t they have any self-respect?”  “How could they react so laze-faire about _____, a moral wrong?                                                                                                                          

6)) “I have wiped out many nations, devastating their fortress walls and towers. Their streets are now deserted; their cities lie in silent ruin.
There are no survivors— none at all.

It seems like God is wondering, “What does it take to get through to these people? Their lives are a mess, relationships, families, bodies, and culture.”

7)) I thought, ‘Surely they will have                   
reverence for me now!                               
Surely they will listen to my                            
warnings.
Then I won’t need to strike again,
destroying their homes.’

“I’m sure they can make the connection that the choices they’re making, following Satan’s ways vs. my ways, have devastating results.”

But no, they get up early                                    
to continue their evil deeds. 
                                                                                 
“People just don’t seem to get “it”.  They could experience abundant life through me (God), but instead they follow Satan who comes to steal and destroy.” – John 10:10

8)) Therefore, be patient,” says the LORD.            
“Soon I will stand and accuse                          
these evil nations.                                                   
For I have decided to gather the                        
kingdoms of the earth and pour out                      
my fiercest anger and fury on them.

There will come a time when God says, “that’s enough chances.  You’ve had plenty of time to choose Me. I’ve explained to you the   consequences of your choices.” – http://nlt.to/Deuteronomy+30

All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy.                                                 

“In the last days I will judge all according to what they have done.”  – Revelation 20:12     Evil doers will be punished, and the obedient will be blessed.

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?

Choices, Choices, Choices??? – PROVERBS – Chapter 1d – 1:10-19 (b) [7]

You can hold on to the hope that I, The Lord, will not change what I have promised.
Hebrews 6:17-18

 

So what does Solomon want us to take away from the confusing verses of Proverbs 1:10-19? http://wp.me/p5nZpi-2I
First, Solomon wants to remind and warn us, that sin can be very attractive.  The danger in following unwise choices, vs. the truth, is that they will then become our compass, what directs us in our everyday interactions.
th                     th

Secondly, acting on sinful choices will not enable us to reach the goals we hope to achieve.  What may look “good” at the onset, may end up trapping us in an unhealthy lifestyle. Solomon warns us not to comprise our values and ignore God’s guidance, following what “man” deems as success.

                                                         th

Often times the enticement of promised friendships, the allure of being “part of the group”, moving up in our job, etc. overtakes our better judgment.
th-2                      th-1

Solomon warns not to get caught up in the temptations around us, DON’T follow them. STAY AWAY, verse 15.
Solomon uses an analogy of a bird in verse 17. A bird, which certainly does not have the intelligence of a person, yet instinctively recognizes a trap and STAYS AWAY.  Sadly, when we choose to venture out into the world “on our own”, without God and His principles, we set an ambush for ourselves; – v.18, which will end tragically.

Lastly, THE KEY is to think beyond the here and now. To consider the future consequences of our present choices.  Short-term choices vs. Long-term effects.  We have free will to make choices, but not the freedom to choose our consequences.
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