Zephaniah 2:8-3:20; 2 Chronicles 35:20-27; 2 Kings 23:29-30; Jeremiah 47-48:47
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Zephaniah chapter 3 verse 5 stood out to me in today's readings: "But the LORD is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day his justice is more evident, but no one takes notice--the wicked know no shame." As you read the 4 preceding verses, you'll note that God is calling the people and leaders of Jerusalem to the carpet for their sinful ways. And in the midst of all this, comes this beautiful verse 5. God is still there in the city. In the midst of all the chaos and shame. And even through all of this, God's justice actually becomes more and more evident. I think this verse really jumped out at me today because I read a horribly depressing story in the paper recently about just some awful things that were done to children in a nearby city. And this story reminded me that we indeed live in a fallen world. There is evil in our world that invades the hearts of men and women. And yet, even in the midst of all of this chaos and shame in our world today, "The LORD is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day his justice is more evident, but no one takes notice--the wicked know no shame." Do you take notice of God in our world today? Even in the midst of everything else going on that may attempt to distract you from God? Is God's justice (and love and compassion and mercy and call to holiness) becoming more and more evident to you each day of your life? This very evening, do you believe that God is still there in the city? Will you take notice?
Chapter 3 verses 11 & 12 also stood out to me in today's readings: "I will remove all the proud and arrogant people from among you. There will be no pride on my holy mountain. Those who are left will be the lowly and the humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the LORD." We of course continue to see the sin of pride coming up over and over again in the Old Testament. Here God reminds us that pride and arrogance are not attributes of those who love him. It is indeed the lowly and the humble that better reflect the attributes of those who love and trust God. Is pride something that you struggle with? Do you realize that pride can be a hindrance to a fully loving and obedient relationship with God? Will you lay down your pride and seek humility? Will you seek to place your trust in God rather than your own abilities? When was the last time you bowed low before God?
Jeremiah chapter 48 is not a very happy chapter... at first glance it's tough to figure out what is going on in this chapter. Why is God so angry at Moab? I think verses 28 - 30 let us in on why: "You people of Moab, flee from your cities and towns! Live in the caves like doves that nest in the clefts of the rocks. We have heard of the pride of Moab, for it is very great. We know of her loftiness, her arrogance, and her haughty heart. I know about her insolence," says the LORD, "but her boasts are false; they accomplish nothing." It sounds like pride and boasting was a major factor here obviously. Along with idol worship as we see in verse 13: "At last Moab will be ashamed of her idol Chemosh, as Israel was ashamed of her gold calf at Bethel." I do think we see sadness from God in this judgment upon Moab in verse 31: "Yes, I wail for Moab; my heart is broken for the men of Kir-hareseth." And ultimate redemption comes in the last verse, 47, of this chapter: "But in the latter days I will restore the fortunes of Moab," says the LORD." This chapter may give us the opportunity to pause and reflect on if there are areas in our life where we are boasting? Boasting in prideful ways? Are we arrogant, lofty, displaying a haughty heart toward others?
Worship God - Today's readings in Zephaniah remind me of the Bluetree song (made famous by Chris Tomlin) called "God of this City." Bluetree are from Belfast, Northern Ireland, so you'll pick up the great Irish accent in this live acoustic version of the song:
Do you know the God of your city? Click here and meet your God!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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