Isaiah 9:8-21 – God’s Fury Against Israel

Read Isaiah 9:8-10:4

You may be thinking, I’m sure glad I wasn’t in Israel then! God’s rage seems to have been unleashed. For Isaiah’s audience in Judah, they must be thinking the same thing. Instead, they should be thinking, “Are we next?  Are we immune to God’s anger?” For us today, it’s almost difficult to imagine the wrath of God coming down in such a forceful way. We are probably in a bit of denial that our loving God could be so ruthless.

We shouldn’t get too complacent in our comfortable lives. God’s compassion is powerful and strong, but so is his wrath. It isn’t like God just decided one day to be angry at his people. It took years, generations of sinfulness to bring them to this moment. God has given his people one chance after the other to be reconciled to him. In sending Jesus, that was his most loving attempt to bring us back to him. Yet for those who ignore God, turn their backs on him and do things their own way, can we assume his fury will not follow them as it did those people in Israel who have done the same?

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Zephaniah 2:12-15 – Whose Power?

Read Zephaniah 2:12-15

The prophecy of God’s wrath continues and includes Ethiopia and Assyria.  Ethiopia, also called Cush, was controlled by Egypt at the time. They were the large nation to the south, while Assyria was large on the north. You may recall Assyria was also a strong military force at that time.

For a little back story, Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, and you can imagine that to be like Tokyo, Moscow, or even  New York City in today’s world. It was known for it’s beauty, technology, with vast irrigation for gardens. That city wall was 60 miles long, 100 feet high, fortified with 1500 towers. All that, reduced to rubble. God’s power, indeed.

These predictions were God’s plan revealed. I’m guessing the people of that time were a bit amazed by Zephaniah’s (God’s) words. It would seem almost an impossibility.

Even today, our culture has become complacent in trusting God’s messages to us, and the tendency is to exist on our own strength. Who are we in the scheme of things? We are God’s prized possession, but we should not become lazy in our faith.

This passage should clearly alert us that having pride in our own goodness shall surely be counterproductive. Our trust should be in God alone. He is in control, and we need to let him be. That can be easier said than done, especially for so many Type A personalities walking around. There must have been many in Bible times as well.

In what ways are you taking the lazy way out in your relationship with God? What can you do to up your game?

Let’s pray. Father, you have always meant business and your power surpasses our understanding. You have promised we can have access to that power when doing your will, and I thank you for that great privilege. Forgive me when I misuse the gifts you have given me, or don’t use them at all. Help me to be mindful of how I can help make a difference in this world. May I lead by your example to change the world. May I walk boldly and proclaim without hesitation that YOU are my God and YOU are the one I follow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.