Scripture: Zephaniah 1-3
Key verse: (2:3) Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
who do his commands;
seek righteousness, seek humility;
perhaps you may be hidden
on the day of the Lord’s wrath.
Reflection: Zephaniah is one of the short books of the prophets; you can easily read the whole book in a single sitting. Because of that, it’s important to look at the arc of the book, not just individual sections. We open with the judgment of the southern kingdom of Judah. Then we move to judgment of the nations and Judah. We finish with a word of hope, looking to the new thing that God will do.
As you read, I hope you will take time to read the hard words of judgment and even war that can be found in this prophetic text. Linger on them. Consider what they might mean for you. I sometimes wonder if we are too quick to rush to hope. Just as on Good Friday, we have the tendency to look toward the hope that comes on Easter, in Zephaniah, it’s easy to jump to rush through the early chapters of judgment to the hope of chapter 3.
God indeed provides us with hope – hope that fills us up and looks toward new life in Christ. But it’s important that we also remember the judgment. Throughout the book of Zephaniah, we encounter the reality of human pride that is the root of sin and leads to the need for judgment. I wonder what pride you carry with you. Are there places in your life that need to be reoriented to the ways of God? On the other side of that judgment, are there places where you need hope? Places you need to be reminded about God’s grace and give yourself the space to breath and take the pressure off. I hope today as you read through these words you sit with the hard words and you let yourself live deep into the hope. Because we believe in a God who is present for it all, and promises hope and new life on the other side of the hard times. May we rest in God through it all.
Prayer: God of the past, present and future, you are there through it all. Help us to reorient away from human pride into the way that you taught us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Author: Savannah Demuynck
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].