How many times have we pleaded, “Come on, guys, get it together” to our own beloved who live in our house? Our children easily rest complacently in their own messes they create until we, as parents, guide them to pick it up, move it, put it on, wipe it clean, and/or gather what is needed to get it together so we can be on the move as a family. Right?!
God tells His people through Zephaniah pretty much the same message! “Shape up or ship out!” God is on the move. Are we with God or against God? Will we move with God or feel we are in control? Will we continue to “just go with our heart”, “go with the flow of humanity” or seek God and follow Him? The results of our decisions are a matter of life or death—for eternity. Know God. Know that God wants His best for those whose hearts are completely and unreservedly His. He delights in us. He loves us far more than we can imagine.
But somedays we live as if we don’t have a clue…
Zephaniah 2, The Message
1-2 So get yourselves together. Shape up!
You’re a nation without a clue about what it wants.
Do it before you’re blown away
like leaves in a windstorm,
Before God’s Judgment-anger
sweeps down on you,
Before God’s Judgment Day wrath
descends with full force.
* * *
3 Seek God, all you quietly disciplined people
who live by God’s justice.
Seek God’s right ways. Seek a quiet and disciplined life.
Perhaps you’ll be hidden on the Day of God’s anger.
All Earth-Made Gods Will Blow Away
4-5 Gaza is scheduled for demolition,
Ashdod will be cleaned out by high noon,
Ekron pulled out by the roots.
Doom to the seaside people,
the seafaring people from Crete!
The Word of God is bad news for you
who settled Canaan, the Philistine country:
“You’re slated for destruction—
* * *
6-7 The lands of the seafarers
will become pastureland,
A country for shepherds and sheep.
What’s left of the family of Judah will get it.
Day after day they’ll pasture by the sea,
and go home in the evening to Ashkelon to sleep.
Their very own God will look out for them.
He’ll make things as good as before.
* * *
8-12 “I’ve heard the crude taunts of Moab,
the mockeries flung by Ammon,
The cruel talk they’ve used to put down my people,
their self-important strutting along Israel’s borders.
Therefore, as sure as I am the living God,” says
Israel’s personal God,
“Moab will become a ruin like Sodom,
Ammon a ghost town like Gomorrah,
One a field of rocks, the other a sterile salt flat,
a moonscape forever.
What’s left of my people will finish them off,
will pick them clean and take over.
This is what they get for their bloated pride,
their taunts and mockeries of the people
God will be seen as truly terrible—a Holy Terror.
All earth-made gods will shrivel up and blow away;
And everyone, wherever they are, far or near,
will fall to the ground and worship him.
Also you Ethiopians,
you, too, will die—I’ll see to it.”
* * *
13-15 Then God will reach into the north
and destroy Assyria.
He will waste Nineveh,
leave her dry and treeless as a desert.
The ghost town of a city,
the haunt of wild animals,
Nineveh will be home to raccoons and coyotes—
they’ll bed down in its ruins.
Owls will hoot in the windows, ravens will croak in the doorways—
all that fancy woodwork now a perch for birds.
Can this be the famous Fun City
that had it made,
That boasted, “I’m the Number-One City!
I’m King of the Mountain!”
So why is the place deserted,
a lair for wild animals?
Passersby hardly give it a look;
they dismiss it with a gesture.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
God has an agenda. We have an agenda. Which one will we choose for this day?
Do we trust God’s best or our best efforts?
Do we have mess to clean up? Seek God, ask for His help and wisdom. He promises to give all we need to clean up. He also shapes our lives for His glory and our best. Even when our sins separate us from God, we can repent and return to him, knowing that his restoration and blessings will follow.
David, the King who fell to temptation which resulted in a royal mess, prayed seeking God’s forgiveness:
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you. Psalm 51:7-15, NLT
And God did. And He forgives us as we seek Him! Jesus paid our sin debt in full. God gives what we do not deserve because of his love, mercy, and grace. Why trust in anyone else?
Forgive me as I forgive others who offend me. Forgive me of going my own way thinking I knew what was best. Cleanse my heart, renew my mind, refresh and feed my soul while restoring the joy of your salvation at work in me.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen