Daily Word

Zephaniah 2

Read Zephaniah 2 – Second chances – Our chapter opens with a second chance to repent. “Gather before judgment begins, before your time of judgment begins, before your time to repent is blown away like chaff. Act now, before the fierce fury of the LORD falls and the terrible day of the LORD’S anger begins. Seek the LORD, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the LORD will protect you – protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.” :2-3

The LORD’S will is that all will repent and turn to him and here in the face of extreme wickedness the people get one final last chance. The commentaries say that Zephaniah was the last to prophecy before the destruction of Nineveh in 612b.c. and the Babylonian invasion that conquered and exiled Judah. During the exile we get the events of Daniel like Shadrack, Meshak and Abednego in the fire… Daniel in the lion’s den… the writing on the wall – I’m just trying to tie in some of your old Sunday school lessons to give you a historical perspective and remind you that this prophecy was fulfilled then and foreshadows the end times events that may very well be in our lifetime.

Zephaniah mentions the remnant of the tribe of Judah in verses :7 and :9 . God always protects the remnant, the few that are godly. We live in wicked times, but rest assured that God sees you and sets you apart as his beloved.

The chapter describes what the destruction will look like, this is a responsibility of God’s to tend to the wicked. At a certain point all the second chances are finished and it’s time for judgement.

Beloved, we live in trying and defiant times. Take heart in the fact that Jesus is on the throne; keep the faith and keep pointing others to Christ.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 25

Read Deuteronomy 25 – Crime and punishment – It was a big deal and punishment was carried out immediately.  If the crime merited a beating, a limit of 40 lashes was imposed as more than that would humiliate the neighbor. (:3)  In the New Testament, the Jews restricted such beatings to 39 lashes to be seen as merciful.  Paul was the recipient of such beatings 5 times according to 2 Corinthians 11:24.  

There was an interesting law on marriage and a brother’s duty to impregnate his sister-in-law, in the event of his brother’s death. (:5-10) There is a very colorful account of this law in action in Genesis 38, if you are curious about it.

The law for a wife jumping in on her husband’s fight with another man seems harsh, but I am certain there were very few one-armed ladies as a result. (:11-12)  It specifically applied to her grabbing the other man’s private parts and commentators suppose this may have been in protection of reproduction.

Weights and measures must be equal.  This is about integrity before God and he gives a promise and a warning for it.  The promise for the man who trades with honesty is a long life, and the dishonest man is detestable to the LORD.

Beloved, hold on to that idea to be “detestable to the LORD”.  When you sin, be it cheating, lying, drunkenness, anger, using the LORD’s name in vain, or any number of things, know that this is detestable to the LORD.  God’s Word says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 and “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”  Proverbs 9:10  I hope each of us would take this to heart, knowing that our sin is detestable to God and fear Him so much that we would not sin, but if we do, that we are quick to confess and repent (which simply means stop doing it, turn away from it). 

Please, Beloved, do not take your sin lightly.  Love and fear the LORD your God so much that it rules over your conduct.  As my pastor puts it:  Obedience motivated by love brings joy.  Disobedience brings pain.  Choose love.