A Call to Repentance
Open Your Bible
Zephaniah 2:1-15, Psalm 27:7-10, Romans 11:1-6
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Zephaniah 2:1-15, Psalm 27:7-10, Romans 11:1-6
Oftentimes, I find myself deeply influenced by other people rather than by Jesus. I scroll Instagram and find new recipes, new decorating tips, new fashion ideas, and myriad examples of my self-assigned inadequacy. It’s dangerous, because it draws me deeper into the trappings of this world and further away from pinning all my hope on the person and work of Christ.
There is nothing inherently wrong with Insta-inspiration or the longing for beauty that it stirs up within me. But that longing for beauty will never be satisfied outside of eternity, outside of the God who created beauty.
Zephaniah chapter 2 opens with a call to repentance for the people of God, who had succumbed to the lure of the idols of their pagan neighbors. The passage addresses Israel but focuses on the impending judgment of Israel’s enemies. The first two verses strike straight into my heart:
“Gather yourselves together;
gather together, undesirable nation,
before the decree takes effect
and the day passes like chaff,
before the burning of the LORD’s anger overtakes you,
before the day of the LORD’s anger overtakes you.”
In the original Hebrew text, the word “goy” is used for the word “nation”—a word typically used to identify nations other than Israel. We know, however, that in these verses, the prophet is addressing Israel, specifically. So why use “goy”? Because Israel had become so influenced by the surrounding pagan nations that she had become like one of them: more pagan than godly.
The lure of idols brought Israel to the brink of destruction. My idols are not made of gold, nor do I worship them in pagan temples, but I am so desperately drawn to the fleeting beauty of the material world. I chase after it. I demand it. I see what my neighbors have, and I want more and better. From the outside, I’m sure I appear more worldly than godly—an assertion I really cannot deny.
God set aside the people of Israel for Himself, for His glory. But they turned away from Him and toward the gleaming idols of their pagan neighbors. He has called me to Himself. I am so thankful He did, and I’m grateful for the reminder today to keep my heart focused on Jesus and His glory, not the glories of this world.
Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing and reading in Nashville, where she also joyfully serves as the editor of Kids Read Truth. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables.