Get Yourself Together
Day: 8 | Plan: Return to Refuge
Today's Reading: Zephaniah 2
Zephaniah 2:3 (ESV) "Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD."
Recently, while looking at fixer-upper houses for sale, I happened upon a website for foreclosed homes. One house listed was in our desired neighborhood, so we hopped in the car to drive by and take a look.
We pulled into the neighborhood and found the home at the end of a cul-de-sac. Suddenly it hit me. I'd seen this house before! When it was built over 20 years ago, it was featured in the local parade of homes tour I had attended. However, the house that stood before me now was not the gorgeous one I'd visited that day. It was in a state of severe disrepair, with overgrown landscaping and a dilapidated, sagging roof. It looked uninhabitable. A neighbor told us it was overrun with rodents!
Zephaniah 2 tells of God calling His people to get their act together because their nation was in a state of disrepair. This prophet — whose name means Yahweh conceals — urges them to repent while there is still time, allowing God to cover and conceal their sins "before the day passes away like chaff" (Zephaniah 2:2a). Chaff was the refuse of winnowed corn or hay, and it was usually burned. In Scripture we see that God winnows as well, separating those who refuse to obey Him from those who do. (Matthew 3:12)
The Lord's righteous judgment in this chapter is seen everywhere in the land. It affects those in the north (Assyria — Zephaniah 2:13), the south (Cushites — Zephaniah 2:12), the east (Moabites and Ammonites — Zephaniah 2:8) and the west (Philistia — Zephaniah 2:5). The destruction would make glorious places — once the bustling center of man's power and might — desolate and inhabited by animals instead.
Since there is no place to turn where God's judgment will not be present, the people's only hope is to repent. They are able to do this by aligning their behavior with the call outlined in Zephaniah 2:3: "Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility." What does it look like to seek the Lord? We get a few clues from this verse.
First, we remember that it is the Lord we seek who established the covenant. We don't seek to get our own way; instead, we seek the Lord and His ways. Also, we come in a spirit of humility, not of pride, attempting to live a godly life that seeks to obey the just commands given by God to us. And finally, we remain humble as we go forward, knowing that righteousness is found only in the Lord. If we continually come to Him in submission and obedience, He will empower us to walk in humility.
Just as the Lord told wayward people in the Old Testament to gather together and repent, we must get ourselves together — through the power of the Holy Spirit, who can enable us to walk in obedience. The dilapidated home, which was converted back into a showpiece again, could not renovate itself. Neither can we. We can, however, allow God to do the transforming as we cooperate by humbling ourselves, seeking the Lord and desiring to walk in righteousness by obeying His commands.
When we do our part by getting ourselves together, God sees our willing hearts. It is then He acts with His incredible power and allows us to be wonderfully renewed.
Prayer: Father, may I not take sin lightly but instead examine it seriously in light of the awful grip it can have on me, causing devastation. Help me to seek righteousness, pursue humility and follow Your commands. In Jesus' name, amen.
Zephaniah 2:15 depicts a once exuberant city (Nineveh) lying in ruins for all to see. Due to the... Read More
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