I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. – 2 Timothy 4:7
Then God, through the prophet Zephaniah, ends the Book of Zephaniah with strength and authority —
20)) On that day I will gather you together
and bring you home again.
I will give you a good name, a name of distinction,
among all the nations of the earth,
as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
This short, three chapter, Book of Zephaniah started out as a message of terror in chapter 1, but concludes in chapter 3 with a message of hope.
We read in this book that one man, King Josiah, attempted to reform the people of Judah/Jerusalem encouraging them, more like ordering them, to follow God. Although the people appeared to follow God, this was just facade (a way of behaving or appearing that gives other people a false idea of your true feelings or situation), because in their hearts they were far from God.
Hopefully reading Zephaniah has got you thinking about your own relationship with God. Is your relationship just an outward show? Do you go to church on Sunday, and don’t think about God again until the next Sunday? Or, when you leave church you get road rage when cars seemingly take forever to get out of the church’s parking lot? Or do you praise God in church, but with that same voice use God’s name in vain, or speak negatively about another?
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. – James 3:9
Because we are fallen people, everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard – Romans 3:23, we all need reminders, found in the Bible, of how to live life God’s Way. It is so easy to get caught up in the world’s expectations of us. Have this kind of house, this kind of job, send your kids to this kind of school, and on and on and on. But what God tells us is that what we need most is a Savior (Jesus). One who can free us from the bondage of our sins – anger, envy, greed, etc.
If you are currently living your life apart from God, or appearing outwardly to be a God-follower, but your heart is far from Him, honoring God with your lips, but your heart is far from Him – Matthew 15:8 you can choose today, right now, to exercise your free will and begin to experience restoration and healing in your life.
The message is close at hand, And that message is the very message about faith that we preach:
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:8-13