A Call to Repentance

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Zephaniah 2:1-15, Psalm 27:7-10, Romans 11:1-6

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.

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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.

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43 thoughts on "A Call to Repentance"

  1. Ashley Thornton says:

    I could have written this myself. I needed this today for sure. It was actually posted yesterday but I’m coming back to SRT after a break so I know God needed me to see it.

  2. Steph C says:

    Seek the Lord! When caught up in sin, seek the Lord. In the face of judgment, seek the Lord. In times of sorrow or uncertainty, seek the Lord. When longing for meaning and purpose, seek the Lord. Don’t seek for beauty or joy or fulfillment in anything else. Don’t crave the material things that surround me. Seek the Lord. Let Him be my joy. My fulfillment. All that my heart craves. Only He can satisfy my longings. Why do I look elsewhere? Seek the Lord.

    1. Dorothy says:

      Amen

  3. Cassie Schneider says:

    I struggle with wanting to make my home “cozy” and a place that my children will grow to love, make memories, and wish to come back to once they’re adults. I dream of the house that my husband and I plan to build, how it will be designed. I also look through my closet and wish to upgrade it so that I feel my best everyday. Social media aids in the planning of these goals but at the same time makes me feel “less than” because I’m not there yet. I’m trying each day to be content with the life I have built so far, to practice gratitude, and focus my attention on the Lord and the beauty that he has provided me with that are not the “things” that I am working towards having.

    I’m trying to be more conscious of putting my phone down, spending more time in silence, taking a few moments during the day to just look outside and see the true beauty in this world that isn’t on a screen. It’s crazy to think about how these things are so wonderful and fulfilling, yet so challenging to do because social media, our phones, and technology have become engrained in a part of our daily lives.

    1. Sarah says:

      Yes! I’m right there with you Cassie. Praying for His grace.

  4. Amber Myers says:

    That first paragraph was so right on…who do I let influence me, or who defines who I am? I want to be who Christ created me to be! Let Him rule and influence my heart and desires ❤️

  5. Savannah Gilmore says:

    Am I *

  6. Savannah Gilmore says:

    This was a much needed reminder to reset my heart’s fix. It’s making me think, I’m I resembling holiness or going along as normal in this sinful world? Thank you!

  7. Mari V says:

    May I always seek Jesus first above everything else.

  8. Sue says:

    Zephaniah urges Judah (and us) to gather together, or as my Living Bible translation says, “gather and pray”.

    Praying today for America as we go to the polls and vote on this Election Day.

    And praying that I will respond to Zephaniah to be part of the remnant that seeks God alone, walks humbly, and chooses to do what is right.

    1. Dorothy says:

      Amen