Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Zephaniah was active about the time of the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. This destruction could easily have been seen as a sign from God that his day of vengeance had come. What specific problem is Zephaniah speaking to in our reading, from 1:7-16? It’s summed up in verse 12. The people have become comfortable in an attitude that God would never actually do anything, either good or evil. For that reason we see that the people have been disruptive. Verse 7 suggests that the people have been using times of worship and sacrifice to carry on their own conversations. Verse 9 suggests that they have turned the courts of the temple into a play place. The idea of reverence toward God has vanished.
The people will, of course, know that something is wrong when the city is falling. They will realize it when all their industry shuts down, when the invaders take their goods and money, when they themselves are delivered over to captivity and the sword. But at that time it will be too late. It will be a day of darkness, gloom, and destruction.
I think the concept applies quite well to our day and age, as well as to many other times and places in world history. Many have become too comfortable with God. They see him maybe as irrelevant, possibly as powerless, certainly as antiquated and poorly understood. Rather than seeking out definitive knowledge, many have simply chosen to dismiss God entirely. He never seems to be doing anything, he won’t do anything in the future, either good or ill.
This is certainly a dangerous attitude. What if there is really one God who created and sustains everything, and who has revealed his will in very clear terms? He reserves the right to bring this calamity to a civilizatio. He’s done it before. He could certainly do it again.
What’s a wise response, then? We look to the Lord in reverence, in respect, and we acknowledge his holiness and power. We pursue the conversation he is having. We try to find out what his priorities are. And we will find that his priority is to restore people to himself, by grace, through faith. May he turn our hearts and attitudes.
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