Chapter 3 begins with a proclamation of doom to the rebellious city. There’s a line in this section that really sticks out to me, and it is this:
“Her priests desecrate the Sanctuary. They use God’s law as a weapon to maim and kill souls.”
Have you ever met someone who uses the Bible, or God’s law, to harm people? Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, it doesn’t matter. It’s still a major problem. And if that misuse of Scripture leads to maiming and killing souls, then you’re really in trouble. If you’re the one misusing Scripture, you’re in trouble. If you’re on the receiving end of someone misusing Scripture against you, you’re in trouble.
It’s a terrible, terrible thing. And it happens more often than you think.
Now, the good news is Zephaniah doesn’t end here. In fact, as it nears the end, it actually contains a lot of proclamations of hope and restoration.
“They won’t lie, won’t use words to flatter or seduce. Content with who they are and where they are, unanxious, they’ll live at peace.”
“Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.”
And finally, this:
“At the same time, I’ll get rid of all those who’ve made your life miserable. I’ll heal the maimed; I’ll bring home the homeless.”
Contentment, living at peace, calm and delighted, no more haters. Feeling at home.
Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Whether Zephaniah is referring to these promises coming true in this life or the next, I’m not sure, but I pray you get a taste of it.