Day 9

A Call to Repentance

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.

Post Comments (43)

43 thoughts on "A Call to Repentance"

  1. Allison says:

    This is definitly off topic, but I noticed in Melanie’s bio that she is editor for Kids Read Truth. What is that?

    1. Lizzieb85 says:

      It’s a She Reads Truth offshoot of kids study/activity books that go right alongside the adult studies! I haven’t bought anything yet, but the stuff looks awesome!

    2. Jo Moody says:

      It is a kids version of what we are doing. It’s really ❤

    3. Beth Osberg says:

      They have books, studies and memory cards for kids. If you go to the SRT website, you can find them! We’ve purchased a few of the kids studies to do over the summer and the kids love them!

    4. Rachel says:

      The kids line/version of she reads truth! There is a men read truth too!! I’m sure with a quick google search you can find the site. Also probably linked through here on the home page somewhere!

    5. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Allison, yes Kids Read Truth is the companion ministry to She Reads Truth and He Reads Truth. Our mission is to equip children with Biblical literacy and instill in them a love for God’s Word. You can find all of our resources at Hope that helps a bit! -Margot, The SRT Team

      1. Christina says:

        So, so grateful for She Reads Truth! Speaking of Biblical literacy – this is the first time I’ve read these books of the Bible in my 30-something years of walking with God. I know – I’m embarrassed to say it! Also love that there’s a He Reads Truth! My husband has been wanting to do the studies along with me. Thank you!

  2. Sharon Statser says:

    Hello! You’re speaking straight to my heart this morning! I have been searching my heart for a while now trying to figure out what exactly was keeping me just out of reach of the relationship I wanted with God. I knew I was sinning but not exactly sure HOW. Idolatry. I was running to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for answers or for some semblance of direction. I’m overcoming my addiction by focusing on the Lord. Thank you for your words and obedience to God’s calling on your life!

  3. Lindsey Bailey says:

    God hates sin. He hates it enough to completely destroy it. He doesn’t hate me or the people that are in the path of sin. He loves us enough to bring destruction so our hearts are turned from the ‘Baals’ of life. Though I don’t understand it completely,it’s God’s mercy that turns things upside down because He would rather save my eternal soul then my earthly life. Jesus, may my heart be humble. Help me seek you in earnest. Align me with your heart and your ways and not the ways of the world.

    1. Dorothy says:


    2. Sharon Willeford says:


  4. Kelly Chataine says:

    Seek the LORD (Kelly)! Seek Him while He might be found!
    May I always be recognizable to our God and not become “goy” and worldly.

  5. Lauren Boswell says:

    Daily reaching for Jesus’ hand I love that. My eyes are fixed on him and I shall not sink. This confidence will set us apart and people of the world will look at us wonder what is different. Please let me be brave enough to do this today and everyday

  6. Bunny says:

    What bible commentary do you use? Trying to dig deeper into these passages. Thanks!

    1. Meredith says:

      Download the Blue Letter App. It is an excellent resource and give you access to numerous commentaries.

      1. Bunny Perry says:

        Thanks Meredith!

  7. Bessie says:

    As I begin to downsize and clear out ‘stuff’ I am realizing that the things that I thought were so important to possess are just things that I now need to get rid of. No, there is no possession that is comparable to the ‘beauty of eternity’ that Melanie spoke of. I enjoy looking at ideas to make my home a cozy and welcoming space, but deep in my soul, I am recognizing the truth that my ‘home’ isn’t here and that my focus is turning toward eternity and the treasures that I will find there.

    The treasures will be family and friends who I love. Many have gone before me and I look forward to seeing them again and having eternity to rejoice with them in the glory of God, Most High.

    Grace and Peace to you, my friends!

    1. Dorothy says:

      I too am downsizing and finding the same to be true.

    2. Sharon Willeford says:

      Absolutely so true. Wake up call.

  8. Churchmouse says:

    We are called to be holy. We are called to be saints – people in the world yet distinct from it. We are to be set apart – people in this culture yet not of this culture. That is the challenge and it is a daily battle. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We’re called to walk on water, trusting in Him who calls with outstretched hand, but we look at the comfort of our boat and we hesitate. The sea is rough. The night dark. There are sharks circling. The boat feels safe, familiar, and comfortable though storm tossed. It seems sturdy enough but it’s taking on water. Quickly. Zephaniah reminds me that Jesus saves. No matter how high the waves, Jesus saves. No matter how palpable the darkness, Jesus saves. No matter how sharp the sharks’ teeth, Jesus saves. He never neglects His mission. He is the Savior. There will always be the saved. So let us daily reach out for His hand, take a firm grasp, and step out. Let us be set apart, separate and distinct. Let us be confident that we are His. We are the remnant. No need to fear the water.

    1. Susan says:

      Amen! ❤️ May I not fear the water and walk by faith. Or as one of my friends said yesterday, just do it afraid!

      1. Mari V says:

        I recall at one of my Bible studies many years ago our leader saying “do it afraid”.

    2. Brandi says:

      Jesus saves! Thank you for this my sister!

    3. Jennifer says:

      I have lately been thinking about the Bible story of Jesus walking on the water and how Peter got out of the boat, with Jesus’ permission, to walk also on the water toward God. I have been needing Jesus’ help lately more than usual to take my eyes off of the raging storms and waves around me and turn my eyes upon His face. I have been needing Christ to take both of my hands and lead me where I am unsure and not rely on my own human strength. Where Jesus is, amazing things happen. Blessings from God upon you all, ladies.

    4. Genesis says:

      Thank you for this illustration ♥️

    5. Dorothy says:

      Thanks for another insightful post Churchmouse. I always gain more knowledge from your posts and love reading them. May I not fear the water and walk by faith.

    6. Sharon Willeford says:

      Thanks, Jesus Saves! I am daily reaching out for a grasp of Jesus hand and step out. I want to be set apart and confidant we are His! Hallelujah what a Savior!

    7. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Jesus saves! Amen!

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