The Bible is full of promises and prophesies that The Lord will defeat and punish those who are evil and oppressive. But my experience in life tells me that He is slow to act. So slow in many cases, that the world laughs at those of us who have put our trust in him. They not only have no time to listen to us preach God’s good news, but they pity us for our small minded naïvety. Nevertheless, today’s passage give me great hope. It tells me that The Lord knows that wicked men don’t believe in him and have no fear of him, it tells me that although he has tried, throughout time to tell them, this passage is addressed to those of us who do believe. He is telling me, personally, that there will be justice. And when he moves among us again and his judgement reigns, all those who humbly kept the faith and believed in him will not suffer as those who rejected him will. Todays passage also reminds me of the words of Jesus as he began his famous sermon on the mount. (See Matthew 5:3-12)
Zephaniah 3:8-13 NLT
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. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy. “Then I will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone can worship the Lord together. My scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia will come to present their offerings. 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 more haughtiness on my holy mountain. Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord. 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.”
My goal today is to do exactly as I have been told, and be patient. There is little we can really do to change the way the world works, after all it is God’s creation, not ours. I will be patient and do what I can do. I can put my whole trust in God, and put his word at the very centre of my life. I can beg forgiveness for my sins each day and nurture habits of discipline and humility. I cannot necessarily defeat my enemies, but I can lay my petitions before God in prayer. I can forgive my enemies and therefore be released of the burden of worry and grievance that I would otherwise be carrying. I can strive to achieve the qualities, in my own life, that Jesus praises in the beatitudes (sermon on the mount). In so doing, I hope I might be blessed and that I might inherit the earth, that I might be comforted and that I might see God.
Zephaniah 1:1-3:20, Revelation 10:1-10, Psalms 138:1-8, Proverbs 30:11-14