Overcoming Spiritual Complacency

Key Verse: “The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.”
—Zephaniah 3:5

Lesson Scripture:
Zephaniah 1:12;
3:1-5, 11-13

IN THE DAYS THAT Zephaniah was a prophet to Judah, known as the two-tribe kingdom, the ten-tribe kingdom had been taken captive to Assyria. Josiah was now king and was instituting more reforms. He sought to bring Israel back to God and spent much effort in this direction. The people, however, were complacent. When he died, his son Jehoahaz took over but did not reign long. The king of Egypt took him captive and made his brother Jehoiakim king. Jehoiakim did evil in the sight of the Lord, and, after an eleven-year reign, he was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon.—II Kings 23:36

These punishments were prophesied by Zephaniah. However, the prophecy of Zephaniah was not merely an indictment of Judah and those nations coexisting at the time, but was an indictment of all the nations of this ‘present evil world’ and applies to the trouble at the end of the Gospel Age. It is described as the Day of the Lord (Zeph. 1:7,8,14), and as the Day of the Lord’s wrath (vs. 15). This prophecy describes a trouble such as man has never seen before, and all the wealth in the world can do nothing to assuage it. It is described as a “fire of his [God’s] jealousy.”—vs. 18

The nation of Israel, which was favored by God, represents the present Christian nations, who are as complacent in their worship of God as was Israel in Zephaniah’s day. The Lord’s patience has been tested to the full and he says through the prophet, “I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord.” (Zeph. 1:2,3) The devastation of the Lord is summed up well when the prophet later says, “Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” (Zeph. 3:8) This prophecy will be fulfilled.

When the work of judgment is over and the old order of this present evil world is removed, then will be fulfilled the second part of this prophecy. Zephaniah says, speaking for God, “Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” (vs. 9) This is the time of the establishment of God’s kingdom. People will no longer be complacent, nor will there be many different religions in the world, because all will know the Lord and will serve him ‘with one consent.’ There will be no language barrier to cooperation with each other and with the Lord.

The prophet also assures natural Israel that they will be regathered and brought back to their land. (vs. 20) Likewise, the Lord will complete his church with expressions of joy and love. —vss. 16,17

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |