Study from God’s Word… Zephaniah, the whole book; and 2nd Chronicles 34: 3 – 7 … Passage for Reflection: Zephaniah 1: 9 … NIV On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold.
My Journal for Today: Well, I’m sure that the prophesies of Zephaniah before the people of Judah during the early reign of the 8 year old King, Josiah, may have fallen on deaf ears to many of the people of the day; but young King Josiah was likely listening; because at 16 he began to activate what Zephaniah was preaching. He fell in line with the truth of God and began instituting a vast turnaround, honoring what His ancestors, David and Hezekiah, had stood for years before. All idols were struck down and all superstitions where discredited.
That calls attention, as does Dr. Smith with his devotional for today, to the admonition of God through Zephaniah, to take seriously – not as superstition – that doing what God commands will help us avoid God’s wrath. In the days of Josiah and Zephaniah, the Philistines had captured the Arc of the Covenant, placing it beside their idol to their God, Dagon, in the Temple which was originally built to honor the One, True, God. Then the people found their idol statue had been destroyed and beheaded in the Temple. So, from that time on, the Philistines would not step on the threshold of the Temple. Hence, we read the reference to the threshold of the Temple in today’s highlight passage.
We can be a superstitious people too, can’t we? How about it? Do you have any superstitions which you hold to … like “knock on wood,” or maybe avoiding breaking a mirror, … or maybe never opening up an umbrella inside the house. Oh, we may not believe in these; and most often we see such superstitions as playful in our lives. But Dr. Smith, today, calls out some superstitions which have more serious overtones. Do you know anyone who wouldn’t be seen without the Christian cross around their neck; or maybe you feel like God will have disfavor on you if you don’t go to church compulsively – EVERY SUNDAY. What about those of us, who, with compulsive disciplines, invest time with God EVERY MORNING, bar none to have a ‘’quiet time” with God? Hey wait a minute, Dr. Smith, you’re meddling a bit don’t you think!
Is my being here, doing my quiet time every day and journaling here, as I’m writing right now, a groundless superstition; or is it a reflection of real faith, … real expectation of God’s presence, and a confidence that I will become more like my Savior if I’m here every day. Well, I hope I’m like Josiah and I’m instituting choices in my life, which I’ve gotten from God’s truth and by carrying them out, as Josiah did in cleansing the Temple and re-instituting God’s commands into the life of the people, I’m doing these morning devotionals out of a genuine desire to know my God and to follow His ways.
Now let me be straight here; I’m not against someone wearing a cross around their neck; but I hope that their doing so is a reflection of their knowing that the One Who died on that cross is the focus of their life and not the wearing of the cross to label them, superstitiously, as a “Christian.” I hope that people don’t come to church superstitiously every Sunday to be seen in church every Sunday; but rather, I pray that they’re coming to be with other believers, expressing corporately, their faith and worship in the One they honor by being there.
Prayerfully we do not make our pursuit of God to be a superstition. No, rather, it is my sincere hope and prayer this morning that what we choose to do in life – for God – is genuinely a reflection of our relationship with Him and not some perfunctory behavior which will be seen as positive by our “Christian” friends. The latter is when religion becomes a superstition; and that is something against which God’s word – and more specifically Zephaniah – warns us to avoid. And so, join me to THANK GOD, through His servant Zephaniah, to keep us on God’s track, avoiding our own selfish superstitions.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pursue YOU, knowing that You desire to see me know You and helping me to avoid getting in Your way by pointless superstitions. Amen