“At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.’”Zephaniah 1:12 ESV
The 20th century preacher AW Tozer famously said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
It’s true. Our faith will be shaped by our conception of God. If we see Him as a benevolent father, then we will tend to be loving and gentle. If we see God as a stern taskmaster, then we will tend to be strict and unforgiving.
And if, like the people of Zephaniah’s day, we see God as complacent and unengaged, doing neither good nor evil, then we will tend to follow our own devices, and decide that we, not God, are the masters of our own fate and the captains of our own destiny.
This is why your reading through the Bible this year is such a valuable exercise. We are developing our understanding of who God really is, as opposed to however we have attempted to cast Him in our own image.
Zephaniah, as much as any Old Testament book, gives us a balanced portrait of God. He is both full of wrath and full of love. He is the bringer of apocalyptic judgment in chapters 1-2, but He is also the redeemer of the nations in chapter 3, who is mighty to save:
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
Is there room in your view of God for a God who is not complacent, but active in the world? Who judges the nations with righteousness and the peoples with equity (Psalm 98:9)? Who, at the same time, will quiet you with His love and rejoice over you with loud singing ?
This is the God you are coming to know through this journey. Stay with it! Because in less than two months, you will see every character trait of the invisible God on display in the person of Jesus.
And let who He is shape you, instead of letting who you are shape Him.
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