“I will remove those who have turned away from following the LORD and those who no longer seek the LORD or ask him for help.” Zephaniah 1:6
This was the indictment against Judah, that they did not seek God, and that they did not ask for his help and guidance.
And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish the men who settle down comfortably, who say to themselves: The LORD will not do good or evil.
Men do not search for God, but he searches diligently for them. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him (II Chronicles 16:9) There are billions of people, but God is watching each person, from the poorest person in India to the celebrity and rich man, and one day everything will be brought to light. Once again, the nakedness will be exposed. There will be consequences for our actions. He allows us to think that we are somehow obscure because there are so many people. We are lulled into thinking we live to ourselves. Satan lulls us with comfort and complacency.
The phrase for complacency here is like wine left on dregs. Wine will continue to take on the quality of the dregs. God allows us to fully ripen in the state in which we have chosen.
They will build houses but not live in them; they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine. We spend our efforts building a comfortable nest for ourselves, but it is not going to last. We should not have our treasure where moth corrupts and thieves break in and steal.
What have I learned recently? I have learned how invigorating it is to fast and go out and share; to get out of our comfort zone and live in the deep waters! Our whole congregation was buzzing with energy yesterday after they had participated in this. I have learned important it is to dream, and honor God by believing that he will bless those dreams that are also His dreams. To fight for our dreams. That the remembrance of how God saved us can be the mustard seed of faith that is the catalyst for greatness and change.
In being in a cross study, I learned how great the grace of God is, that he would have his son die for mankind when mankind was only wicked at the time of the crucifixion. Everyone, from Jesus’ friends to those in government, to the numerous Jews in the crowd — everyone was wicked. No one stood up for what was right. Yet God still went through with the crucifixion. That is very great and utterly amazing grace.
And I came to that conclusion because I have been reading Deuteronomy, and the minor prophets, and I see how people have constantly fallen into wickedness, throughout history.
One thing that is interesting about Zephaniah is that God says he will destroy the whole earth because of Judah’s wickedness. In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. It is like the flood all over again. Peter says, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
So to summarize, the eyes of the Lord watch each individual., He is searching for those who will be devoted, and He sees when we become independent, when we become comfortable and our hearts gradually lose their thirst for Him. Let me not think that I am different than those present during the Passion. I am just like those in the Old Testament, and I will drift into wickedness, any sin left undealt with will mature. All of us will be called to account for this. There is always a judgment day. God, in His flood of mercy, has provided a propitiation for us. But His wrath will take its course, the whole world will be destroyed at some point, and only that which is built on Christ will remain.
What can I do? I must seek God and RELY on Him, ask for His help and guidance, moment by moment. I must seek to live in the deep end, and push myself to get out of my comfort zone by fasting, sharing, and practicing self denial as a lifestyle, not as something I do and then come back to the ease of the shallow waters.