Zephaniah – God is jealous for you
“For the Lord your God is living among you…” Zephaniah 3:17a
Zephaniah wrote during the reign of King Josiah, one of the only good kings to hold the throne of Judah during those tumultuous years. King Manasseh had brought the faith and practice of the One True God to an all-time low and while he repented from his ways late in his reign the country was a mess. His son only made it worse.
By the time Josiah became king (at age 8) and received the messages from God’s prophets like Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Jeremiah, both he and the country were ready for a change and a brief period of revival took place. (2 Chronicles 34) The Book of the Law was read and the Passover was celebrated for the first time in years.
But the reforms of Josiah were short-lived and subsequent kings fell back into idolatry, leading Judah astray and, ultimately, to bitter defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians.
In the first part of his short book, Zephaniah wrote of the coming judgment that God would bring against Judah. But then the Lord gave Zephaniah a glimpse of the eventual restoration God would bring through the resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
“…wait for Me,” says the Lord, “for the day of My rising up as a testimony…” (3:7a) The resurrection of Christ would be a testimony of God’s great love and power. After that He would pour out His Spirit and “all the earth shall be consumed by the fire of my jealousy,” (3:7b).
God’s radical, history-altering, insertion of Himself into the human drama, through Jesus Christ, demonstrated the lengths He will go to rescue His children from sin. His love for the people of the earth is so great, so incomprehensible, that it is like unto a consuming fire of jealousy. Not a jealousy of suspicion, but a jealousy of monogamy. The One True God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, desires to be your only God. God is God alone. There is none like Him.
All judgment is really this, that sin would be consumed and fidelity to God renewed. There can only be one Lord of your life. It will either be God or mammon. If you say, “I don’t believe in God. I believe in myself” or science, or global warming, or money, or anything else – you have revealed your God.
But Jesus doesn’t want that for you. He wants you to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." His desire is to set you free, make you alive in Christ, show you the power of His love, and the fire of His compassion.
He wants you to be part of a beautiful tapestry, a spotless bride. The masterpiece He is creating isn’t complete without you, so He courts you and draws you close and brings you into situations where you can see His hand of mercy and know He is there for you.
“… For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17
God is jealous for you, Dear one. He is patient, but he is also perseverant. Take note today of His delight in you, let His love calm your fears, listening closely as He rejoices over you with joyful songs, and give Him your whole heart.