Zephaniah 1:1-3 (click here for todays passage~)
‘’We humans keep looking for a religion that will give us access to God without having to bother with people…This determination to get ourselves a religion that gives us an inside track with God, but leaves us free to deal with people however we like is age-old…It is also the sort of religion that the biblical prophets are determined to root out. They are dead set against it. Because the root of the solid spiritual life is embedded in a relationship between people and God, it is easy to develop the misunderstanding that my spiritual life is something personal between God and me – a private thing to be nurtured by prayers and singing, spiritual readings that comfort and inspire, and worship with like-minded friends. If we think this way for very long, we will assume that the way we treat the people we don’t like or who don’t like us has nothing to do with God. That’s when the prophets step in and interrupt us, insisting, ‘’Everything you do or think or feel has to do with God. Every person you meet has to do with God.’’ We live in a vast world of interconnectedness, and the connections have consequences, either in things or in people – and all the consequences come together in God…We can’t be reminded too often or too forcefully of this reckoning. Zephaniah’s voice in the choir of prophets sustains the intensity, the urgency.’’ From Eugene Peterson’s introduction to ‘Zephaniah’ in ‘The Message’.
‘’I will sweep away…I will sweep away…I will sweep away…’’ (2 and 3).
As I walked around my office this morning, I thought, ‘This place needs a good sweeping out.’ It will definitely happen. It’s on my ‘to do list.’ This office needs cleaning!
That’s trivial, I know. Yet it is also important.
But God has a cleaning project on a larger scale:
‘’I’m going to make a clean sweep of the earth, a thorough housecleaning.’’ GOD’s Decree. Men and animals, including birds and fish – Anything and everything that causes sin – will go, but especially people.’’ The Message.
This clean will certainly take place. There are things that have to go. Think about what God has done in the past. He has ‘swept away’ before. Remember the flood. Consider Sodom and Gomorrah. Take into account the Exodus. In history there have been, and may yet be, many ‘mini’ days of judgment. But they are just ‘tasters’ of the big day of reckoning ahead. God, through Zephaniah, was speaking about the Babylonian invasion in 606 B.C. But this foreshadows the ‘’day of the LORD’’ (7) that will ultimately come. Clearly a world-wide judgment is in view in (2, 3)
Zephaniah was a great-great grandson of the godly King Hezekiah. ‘’Zephaniah may be the only Old Testament prophet who had royal blood in his veins. But his kinship with King Josiah didn’t prevent his preaching a message of judgment at a time when the king was leading the nation in a religious reformation (2 Kings 22-23). Both Jeremiah and Zephaniah saw that the ‘’reform’’ was not true revival, for it never got to the hearts of the people. It was only a surface change because the king promoted it and the people went along with whatever was popular…Preaching a message of judgment at a time of national religious reformation would not be easy; but a true prophet not only sees farther, he also sees deeper.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.605.
Prayer: Help me Lord to sweep out my ‘office’ before you have to come and do it forcibly.