Summary: Zephaniah show us that we can avoid complacency by gathering together, seeking Jesus and obeying His commands.
As we’ve seen with many of the other Old Testament prophecies, there is both a near term and far term fulfillment of this prophecy. The near-tem fulfillment came within Zephaniah’s generation as Babylon invaded Judah and Jerusalem and took the people into captivity. But there are certainly aspects of Zephaniah’s prophecy that are yet to be fulfilled at the return of Jesus.
In this chapter, we also find that much of what we’ve already learned about the “Day of the Lord” to be confirmed:
• It is universal – the entire world is going to experience the effects of God’s wrath being poured out.
• It is certain – although we don’t know when the final culmination of the “Day of the Lord” will commence, it will happen.
• It is horrific – perhaps more than any other Old Testament prophet, Zephaniah describes the nature of the final culmination of the “Day of the Lord” with words like wrath, distress, anguish, ruin, devastation, darkness, and gloom
But rather that focus on those details this morning, I want us to dig deeper and to see if we can’t discover some of the underlying reasons for God’s judgment, particularly the discipline of His own children. There is little doubt in my mind that the key verse for the entire book of Zephaniah is Zephaniah 1:12. Let’s read that verse out loud together:
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
and I will punish the men
who are complacent,
those who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good,
nor will he do ill.’
The language in this verse certainly would have caused Zephaniah’s audience to think of the Passover where every family would take a candle and search every nook and cranny in their house in order to remove any leaven that might be there. In much the same way, God said that He would search every single inch of Jerusalem in order to punish the sin that was there. And there was one sin in particular that God focused on here – the sin of complacency.
We usually tend to group sins into two groups – sins of commission, where we do something that we’re not supposed to do, or sins of omission, where we fail to do something that we should do. But what really provokes God is the kind of complacency that accepts sin as a lifestyle because we don’t think that God cares about our sin or that He won’t do anything about it. And it’s clear from this entire context of the chapter that God isn’t speaking here to outsiders, but rather to those that claimed to be His children. I’m reminded of Jesus’ letter to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3 where He warns them against being lukewarm.
So how do we guard against complacency in our own relationship with God? Fortunately for us, Zephaniah clearly describes what I would describe as the…
COMPONENTS OF THE INDEX OF LEADING SPIRITUAL COMPLACENCY INDICATORS
Just as the index of leading economic indicators is a composite of a number of economic statistics, complacency in our spiritual lives can come from a number of different factors. So this morning, I’d like for all of us to use this passage to evaluate our own spiritual lives and determine whether we are in danger of slipping into complacency, or even if we’ve already done that.