What does repentance look like? Zephaniah shows us in today’s reading. This is not only meant for the remnant of faithful ones who are wanting to stay true to God in the days before the exile, but to us as well. The prescription for living is not hard, unless you have a hard time humbling yourself and being obedient to God’s will.
Many will choose the independence this world offers. The evil one wants us to believe there is freedom in those choices. Rather, it’s a death sentence with no hope for eternity. Is it hard for you to humbly obey God?
I see three things Zephaniah suggests we can act on now to avoid destruction. Gather. Seek. Follow. How do we act out this plan?
We are to gather with other believers. Zephaniah doesn’t say that last part, but it goes without saying. No doubt, this is to strengthen us with encouragement. There’s lots of examples in the Bible where two are better than one, and more than two even better! Not only can we be personally motivated when surrounded by other believers, we can make a bigger impact on this world!
Zephaniah wants us to gather before judgment begins. I can only suppose that’s because once destruction is underway it will be too late. In our meeting spaces, conversations about good and evil can be shared. Will people repent because they have heard the good news of protection?
We are to seek God and his will for our lives. Zephaniah suggests that only the humble will be able to truly seek God and live a life pleasing to God. What does living humbly look like to you? It doesn’t mean we need to be “wet blankets” that get taken advantage of by others. It means that we empty ourselves of our own importance wanting God to be the one to shine.
Knowing right from wrong is easier when you have humbled yourself before God and surrendered your will to his. Then trust God’s mighty power to transform your life.
We are to follow God’s commands. It’s one thing to discern what’s right or wrong; it’s quite another to actually follow through and do the right thing. We don’t need to second guess our behavior. Remember that God’s word gives us all the instruction we need for how to live our lives. We may not always feel worthy or capable of living the “good” life, and that’s okay. God knows our hearts–is it your desire to please him?
This passage gives us the assurance that God wanted his people to repent. Zephaniah isn’t the only prophet who tried to call the people to repent. Just like today, there is a remnant of people who still trust God’s faithfulness and acknowledge his lordship over their life. How does it feel to be part of this remnant God wants to remain faithful?
Let’s pray. Lord, it is my heart’s desire to worship and adore you with every inch of my being. I want others to know your grace and mercy. Reading of your fury and anger has been a bit unsettling. I never want to displease you, yet I know I’ve stumbled plenty in my life. Forgive me. Thank you for continuing to use me, even when I’m broken. In Jesus’ name. Amen.