Bible Experiment Zephaniah
I’m going to start with a quote from the end of the book of Zephaniah. And for those of you who don’t know what the heck is going on, I’m just reading every book of the Bible and talking about the crazy crazy I find there. Ok? But for this book, those of you who are atheists, or agnostic, or prognosticatics, or what have you, consider this ‘theoretical premise’ for a second. What if the Bible really was real, and that the perpetual calls for you to draw close to Him were all unheard and unheeded until right now? Like literally right now, while you are reading this blog.
So the question you have before you, God would like you to drop your pride, and your presuppositions that you have it all figured out. He’d also like you to stop making yourself out to something you are not. To stop doing terrible things against other people… and to draw close to Him. What say you? Remember, this is a ‘theoretical exercise’ and He is real, right? What is your response to this reality you just discovered? What do you do? Where do you go? How do you turn your life around?
Better yet, what will happen if you choose not to turn it all around and draw close to Him? Here’s one small hint, “The Lord will be terrifying to them, for He will starve all the gods of the earth.” I love that bit, for He will starve all the gods of the earth… it’s sort of a picture of a city besieged, and left to die behind the walls. To starve something to death… what a picture is that? But if in this theoretical exercise, there is One True God, and He is referring to all of the small g gods of the earth… and there are no other gods other than Him… than what is He talking about?
Man creates these gods. Man pulls the silver, and the gold from the ground. Man shapes and forms the wood, and the metal. Man builds a place to stand the god, and to worship him as well. Man is the one that is setting up these pieces in direct conflict with the God above all gods. So, if God is becoming terrifying to them, and that He will starve all of these gods of the earth, what is He doing? Well, it’s apparent, that the One True God (In this “theoretical exercise” of course) is killing these willful rebellions against Him in us. He is warring with our own rebellion from Him, and nothing else.
I know I said this before, but it bears repeating, since beginning my reading of the entire Bible, and writing about each book for a thousand words… I’ve been just floored by the story that comes out of this experience. Almost through the Old Testament now with Zephaniah, and the section of the Bible that most people quote when they have an issue, or a problem with it. But for me? The message is so so so simple. God loves you. Return to Him. God loves you. Return to Him. Stop sinning, and seeking for love anywhere else. God loves you. Return to Him. And we can see this same refrain echoing here as well… again and again the God of the universe is spelling it out to you very very clearly…
I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
And I will punish the men
Who are stagnant in spirit,
Who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good or evil!’
Seek the Lord,
All you humble of the earth
Who have carried out His ordinances;
Seek righteousness, seek humility.
Perhaps you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord’s anger.
For the remnant of the house of Judah,
They will pasture on it.
In the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down at evening;
For the Lord their God will care for them
And restore their fortune.
In that day you will feel no shame
Because of all your deeds
By which you have rebelled against Me;
For then I will remove from your midst
Your proud, exulting ones,
And you will never again be haughty
On My holy mountain.
Personally? I am more than ashamed of many of the terrible terrible things that I’ve done in my life. I am actually a fairly measured person. I know when I can get away with being funny and winning the crowd with my whit. I also know when it’s appropriate to shutup. But occasionally I screw up – and most of the time I notice more than anyone else. And I replay those moments, over and over again. That I got it wrong? That eats me up. What’s worse? Is the private shame and pain that comes from sinning overtly. And to hear that He is offering to wipe away that shame and to remove the pride from my heart? That I will be restored to Him? Are you crazy… that is amazing.