Sunday, August 05, 2012

August 5, 2012 … From Gloom To Glory

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 218 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Zephaniah 1-3[NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Zephaniah 1: 1; 4; 7; 17 :[NIV] … 1 The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah: … 4 "I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place, the very names of the idolatrous priests — … 7 Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited. 17 "I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung.”
 Highlight Passage: Zephaniah 2: 1-3; 7 :[NIV] … 1 Gather together, gather yourselves together, you shameful nation [i.e., Judah], 2 before the decree takes effect and that 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. 3 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. … 7 That land [Philistia – south of Jerusalem] will belong to the remnant of the people of Judah; there they will find pasture. In the evening they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon. The Lord their God will care for them; he will restore their fortunes… 13 He will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, leaving Nineveh utterly desolate and dry as the desert. 
Highlight Passage: Zephaniah 3: 1-2; 7; 14-15 :[NIV] … 1 Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! [Reference to Jerusalem] 2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. … 7 Of Jerusalem I thought, 'Surely you will fear me and accept correction!' Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did. … 14 Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. … 19 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. 20 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.

My Journal for Today: Today, in my chronological reading plan, I’m taken to the writings of Zephaniah, the primary Prophet to Judah and Jerusalem during the time of Josiah, when the young king was trying to re-establish Godly righteousness in the land and when God’s word and worship had been reintroduced into the life of The Lord’s chosen, but rebellious, peoples. However, the prophesy from God, through Zephaniah, against those who had been hardened by their sin and those pagan, idolatrous nations surrounding Judah, was – as you can read in the above highlight passages from Zephaniah’s book – extremely harsh and foreboding.

But if one reads and studies through this book, it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist or a gifted theologian to see that God is clearly spelling out the truth that when God’s judgment comes down on those who have mocked His truth, rebelled and remained rebellious as to His will, and have rejected His ways, there will literally be “hell” to pay! One the other hand, it’s also clear from these prophesies, that God, in His infinite and loving mercy is going to spare a remnant of humble and faithful believers who remain true to God’s word and continue to seek His will for their lives.

It must be with a sense of grief for Messianic Jews today to read what is in store for those of their people who’ve broken away from and not returned to the Lord, as did Josiah and his faithful followers in the times of Zephaniah. However, these modern day Jewish followers of Yeshua Hamashiah (Jesus, The Messiah) must also find great joy in knowing that their faithful discipleship and belief in the returning Lamb of God will see them returning to their promised land and being restored to eternal glory.

Yes, Zephaniah was the “gloom to glory” prophet; and all who see rebellious idolatry and inglorious rejection of God’s word in our culture today should listen to the clear prophet who was not only bringing God’s truth to God’s people in 640 BC; but the truths of these prophesies ring true for all of us today. One day – maybe soon – we who believe in the true Messiah and rely on His promises with hope will see the glorious return of our Lord and His wrath being visited on all those past, present, and future who’ve rejected God’s promises and His Son.

I, for one, am profoundly saddened to see so many around me in our world who’re headed to hell in their own hand-basket of denial and hardened sin; … but I’m uplifted by sharing the good-news – no, the great news - from Zephaniah to Yeshua – that those who come to know The Messiah as Savior will go from gloom into glory to spend a protected and joyous eternity with the LORD.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, HALLELJUAH, … Your word for me today, Lord!!! Amen

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