“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal
and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests,
those who bow down on the roofs
to the host of the heavens,
those who bow down and swear to the Lord
and yet swear by Milcom,
those who have turned back from following the Lord,
who do not seek the Lord or inquire of him.
Be silent before the Lord God!
For the day of the Lord is near…
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.’
A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the lofty battlements.
I will bring distress on mankind,
so that they shall walk like the blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord…
Neither their silver nor their gold
shall be able to deliver them
on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
all the earth shall be consumed.” Zephaniah 1:4-7a,12,15-17a,18a
“I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” Exodus 20:5
It may astound that we are capable of bowing on a roof to heaven’s hosts, and mingling worship of the true God with ‘Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites,’ yet our flesh is so daily prone. Any time we exalt any part of the created world over the Creator, or split our allegiance between God and another, we prove our tendency to idolatry. The steps to start the slide are simple, and insidious. (1 Kings 11:5,33; Romans 1:18-24)
Turning back from following the Lord implies a once-fervor for walking with Him. How does follow become a slow trailing behind, then an about-face? When we stop seeking Him. We stop looking into His word to inquire and listen. Our hearts get distracted and ears start to pick up other sounds, then tune in. When we stop asking, we stop looking and seeing Him in everything. We lose sensitivity to His Spirit’s direction and nudging conviction, because we have strayed after more alluring prompts. We cease to walk in step with Him, then in His steps at all. (Hebrews 11:25)
The sad thing is, it’s so easy to slip and slide, and lesser gods are never worth their enticement. The glad offer is God’s gracious mercy to those who return. Which will it be for us? Today is the day to see clearly what’s really going on in our hearts, and come clean: name our false gods- be they health, safety, ease, or stuff- and confess our sole allegiance to Jesus. His is the path of freedom and soul fulfillment.
What are we most tempted to worship? To whose voice do we give our best attention and time? What allures take precedence when we dole out priorities?
Lord, make me silent before You, so You alone fill my vision, my heart’s affection, and my praise.