Happy Monday Everyone!
I hope everyone had a great weekend! I was actually sick with strep late last week going into the weekend. I now have a cold! Sheesh! But it is alright, because that hasn't stopped me one bit!
This weekend was awesome. I spent time with my girlfriends, made homemade apple crisp (I will be putting the recipe on here soon! ) and dragged out my fall/winter clothes!
I wasn't home most of the weekend- I always try to keep myself busy. So come Sunday evening, after church and running errands, I was excited to get home and RELAX! I would typically turn on an episode of Grey's Anatomy (My guilty pleasure right now on Netflix) but I felt God leading me to read a book in the Bible. He led me to Zephaniah.
In summary, the book is short (only 3 chapters) where Zephaniah is giving prophecy to what God is going to do to nations that were full of sin and disregard to God. In the beginning of the book, it displays God's anger and consequences to come but in the end of the book, it displays God's promises to His people.
There were nations that were full of sin and who didn't really care about God's commands. There was idoltry and self righteousness. There was complete disregard for the Lord. Of course, that made God extremely angry and from the surface of the chapter, all you would read is God's anger.
But as I dug in further, talking to God about this book and what was going on in the prophecy, God put my attention on this verse:
"Gather together, gather yourselves together, you shameful nation, before the decrees take into effect and the day passes like windblown chaff, before the Lord's fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord's wrath comes upon you. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger."
What did that scripture say or mean to you?
Well, to me, if I were to just skim over it, I would probably just see that Zephaniah is giving warning on what's to come to the people and possibly sparing those who are humble and follow the Lord.
But as I kept reading it. I started realizing it that God showed His mercy and love in a very strong way. He not only used Zephaniah to give warning, He gave the people time to turn away from their ways. He gave them time. And further gave instruction on how to be sheltered when the day of the Lord comes.
What great love is that!
I started thinking more and more about it. Here is God, who created all things and the very people who were against Him. Who gave such people a way out of oppression in the past and showed such great mercy and love. Yet, they still did not accept Him or follow Him. He is a jealous God- it makes sense why He would be so angry! His own creations disregarded Him.
Yet, the Creator all things did not just kill them all and bring oppression to them without any sign or warning. He showed His love and mercy and concern for those people (regardless of what they were doing) by giving warning and TIME for them to turn away and acknowledge Him.
I started crying because as angry as He was, He was still concerned with everyone's salvation. He wouldn't have used Zephaniah if He wasn't! If He did not have mercy or love He would have just done everything that He said He would do without any warning or regard for the people's lives.
But God is faithful and just. He gives us the choice on what we want to do and how we want to live our lives. He can only try to get us to see what is truly the best thing for us- & that is His plan.
What a beautiful love He has for us that He gives us time to turn away from our wrong doing and focus on Him. What patience!
In the last chapter of the book, Zephaniah says this (Zephaniah 3:17):
"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."
The chapter finishes with God's words (Zephaniah 3:18-20):
"I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you. At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,”says the Lord.
What a great promise of the Lord. Those who love Him, He will do everything and anything to protect them, give them a full life, bring justice to those who do wrong against them, restore them, and will give them honor and praise. WOW!
Our Lord may be jealous, but how loving and amazing He is to us. What a promise!
No matter what is going on, as those who love the Lord, we are forever protected and everything for us will be restored. He is concerned with every matter of your life. Big or small. He is even concerned for those who don't know Him- which shows me that is it important to pray for those I know who do not know the Lord. Because He is Mighty to save!
I hope this has touched you like it touched me. It is truly such a blessing to have a God that is so concerned about everything we have going on, who loves us, and will go to any means to protect us and make sure we are A OKAY! :)
Have a great week!