Summary: Zephaniah delivers a prophecy of redemption to the faithful remnant of Israel, scattered by her enemies.
December 16, 2018
Redemption of the Faithful Remnant
Folks, I read through the lectionary readings for today and honestly felt drawn from preparing yet another Christmas sermon. And then lo and behold, I read the Old Testament reading of Zephaniah 3:14-20. The message grabbed me. Hark, there are some ways to see the coming Messiah in this reading! But, to me the greater parallel is in the message of redemption to the faithful remnant of that day and which clearly gives today’s faithful that same hope.
Before we get into it, let me ask you, “When was the last time that you read anything in the Book of Zephaniah? When was the last time that you heard a message taken from the Book of Zephaniah?” Well then, maybe it’s about time.
Zephaniah is the ninth of the minor prophets. The Book was written sometime between 641 and 612 B.C. [remembering that B.C. means Before Christ appeared in the flesh]. The portion of our reading was directed to the restoration of the Nation of Israel.
When I delve into messages to the Israelites, I cannot escape the predicament that they have gotten themselves into and how that relates directly to how we today have allowed ourselves (society as a whole) to fall into a very similar predicament. We go to church, we pray, we tithe, we feel good about ourselves, yet we are surrounded by divisiveness, prejudices, hate, crime and corruption. Can anyone deny that?
The prophet says, “The King of Israel, the Lord is in your midst; you shall see disaster no more.” Verse 15
The reading continues with an encouragement to rejoice, sing and be reconciled.
He talks about gathering the families that were driven away and returning the captives before their eyes in verses 19 and 20.
We all have relatives, friends, co-workers that are captive to sin. We all live in a society that idolizes violence, sex and a life of hedonism. Don’t be bashful, if I am wrong, say so. And if I am correct, what are we going to do about it? Shall we grab this prophecy from Zephaniah and apply it to today’s remnant? Shall we share the message of HOPE, JOY, PEACE and LOVE that our Lord offers every day of every month of every year, not just a single very significant day in the Christian calendar?
We can be in a state of despair and still experience that euphoric Joy, the promise of Hope, the Peace that comes with relying on God in all things and of course the LOVE of our Savior who died on the cross for His remnant and for those to be called into the fold of the remnant.
As you know, Edna’s sister passed away last month, and we buried her on Thanksgiving Day. Audrey was at peace in her last days even in great pain. Audrey knew the Hope of eternal life, the Joy of reunion with those who have gone on before her and she certainly knew the LOVE of her Savior.
That is what the Lord had Zephaniah proclaim and that is what God would have us proclaim. It isn’t about end times; it is about NOW times, where God loves you so much that He wants to put our rotten years of living in sin behind us and live forward for Him and His glory.
That was the message for Israel and that is the message for us.
Let us pray -
I humbly and sincerely ask for your prayers!
Note: It is the practice of this church to preach straight from the bible. We follow the lectionary assigned readings from which the sermon/messages are derived.