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Who Do You Worship?

A Lesson for Today from Zephaniah

A too-common practice in the United States (and perhaps around the world) is to take parts from different religions and philosophies, mashing them together to form a personal belief system. Doing so is a consumer-centric mindset.

People keep the parts they like, and they ditch the rest. They grab what is comfortable and jettison everything that makes them squirm. It’s akin to reading the Bible with a highlighter in one hand and scissors in the other. People do this now, and they did it back in the days of the prophet Zephaniah.

Making up a belief system in this way is really little more than deciding to believe in yourself.

In doing so people make God in their image, to be who they want and need him to be for their own satisfaction and comfort. It’s a feel-good religion that won’t save them. It has no basis for truth other than what people want it to be.

It may seem like a good approach, but it’s not. The God who is revealed in the Bible doesn’t like it when people mix thoughts and practices from other religions or philosophies. In fact, he has some harsh criticism for them, which he shares with the prophet Zephaniah.

Remember, just because we think something is true, doesn’t make it so. For example, it might be intriguing to say that gravity doesn’t affect me or that 2 + 2 = 5, but those are laughable conclusions. So it is when we make up our own religion.

We must give ourselves fully to God. Click To Tweet

Speaking through the prophet, God declares his judgment against those who mix the worship of him with the worship of other distractions. In Zephaniah’s time this was the worship of stars and the worship of other gods. Mixing and matching doesn’t work in God’s book.

God is not content to have our partial attention. He is jealous of our affections and wants it completely. We must give ourselves fully to him.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Zephaniah 1-3, and today’s post is on Zephaniah 1:4-5.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

What Do You Know about Zephaniah and the Flood?

Discover More about Zephaniah

A quick read of the beginning of the book of Zephaniah sounds a lot like Noah and the flood:

“I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. “I will sweep away both men and animals; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. The wicked will have only heaps of rubble when I cut off man from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.

Aside from the minor issue that fish won’t likely be destroyed by a flood, the main problem is that this passage foretells a future event, but Noah and flood happened centuries before.

This means that Zephaniah isn’t talking about Noah and the great flood, but another judgement, a future sweeping away of everything.

The flood in Noah’s time was God’s judgment over rampant evil in the world. The righteous were saved, the wicked die.

According to Zephaniah there will be another time of judgment. Though his description sounds like a flood, he doesn’t mention a deluge.

Jesus talks about this judgement too (Luke 17:20-27). Although God promises he will never again destroy the world with a flood (Genesis 9:11), he doesn’t preclude using other means. This is what Zephaniah foresees.

There's no need to worry about the future for those who follow Jesus. Click To Tweet

We don’t know when this will occur, but there is no need to worry for those who follow Jesus.

[See Zephaniah 1:2-3.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Zephaniah Asks: What Do You Really Rely Upon?

Discover More about Zephaniah

The short Old Testament book of Zephaniah opens with an apocalyptic prophecy. Amid the forth telling of doom and gloom is the reminder that “neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them.”

The Message Bible, puts it more directly: “Don’t plan on buying your way out. Your money is worthless for this.” Do we put our trust in our money today? Do we view money as the solution?

What do we really depend on to save us from disaster? For most people, there is the real answer and the right answer—and they’re not always the same.

When things go bad, really bad, the end-of-time-bad, money’s not the solution, neither are things, nor power, nor influence, not even family and friends. Zephaniah knows this. So do we.

We inherently know that ultimately only a higher power can save us, only God is the answer for life’s final question.

We know that, but do we actually believe it? Do we actually live it?

Do we trust God with our future or place our hope in money—or ourselves. Jesus confirms that we can’t serve them both.

There are eternal consequences at stake. Don’t make the wrong choice.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Luke 16-18 and today’s post is on Luke 16:13.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Avoiding the Risk of Complacency

The Bible Addresses Complacency

Complacency. The word complacent means to be “pleased or satisfied” or especially, to be “extremely self-satisfied.”

This seems to describe many people that I know. They are complacent, perhaps not materially, but certainly spiritually. They are content to sit back, with no concern for their non-material well-being and little remorse for a lifestyle that is less than optimum.

These people have a spiritual complacency. They believe they’ll go to heaven when they die, and that’s good enough for them.

God doesn’t like spiritually complacent people.

Zephaniah Speaks against Complacency

Through the prophet Zephaniah, God says he will search out the complacent people and punish them. They are even complacent about his response to their complacency, for God specifically says that they assume he will do nothing to them, neither good nor bad.

They are truly complacent and God is ticked off.

Complacent People in Laodicea

Another group of people who suffer from a complacent attitude is the church in the city of Laodicea. They are neither hot or cold. To them, God simply says he will spit them out.

What an apt image of disgust—and for one who wants to be close to God, what a frightening picture of separation and aloneness.

May God never find us complacent. The consequences are too great. Click To Tweet

I hope that God never finds me complacent—the consequences are too great.

[Zephaniah 1:12 and Revelation 3:14-16]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Book: Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets

Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

You may know about the prophet Jonah, the guy who spent a three-day time-out in the belly of a large fish, but what about some of the lesser-known prophets?

Do you know of Micah, Obadiah, or Malachi?

What about Nahum, Zephaniah, or Zechariah? Oh, my! The list goes on. It’s enough to make our minds spin.

Rounding out these twelve Minor Prophets are Amos, Hosea, Habakkuk, Haggai, and Joel.

The Bible includes the work of these twelve prophets who carry the unfortunate label of minor. It’s not that their work isn’t significant, it’s that their books are shorter.

If you’re like most people, you scarcely remember their names, let alone having ever read their books in the Bible.

It’s time we change this.

In the book Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets, you’ll discover:

  • The order of each prophet’s ministry (because the Bible doesn’t list them chronologically)
  • The significant messages they address
  • Their place in the biblical timeline
  • The umbrella of hope that outshines criticism of unfaithfulness and prophecies of punishment
  • The powerful way their words apply to us today

In book four of the Dear Theophilus series, you get all this and more:

  • Thought-provoking insights that are part Bible study and part devotional
  • A deeper understanding of these lesser-known prophets
  • A greater appreciation of how the Old Testament informs our lives today

Let’s dive into the intriguing lives and ministries of these amazing messengers from God in the book Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Posts about the Minor Prophets

Posts about the Minor Prophets

For the past several months, most of the ABibleADay posts have been about the minor prophets. Recall that they are called minor not because their prophecy is insignificant, but because their books are short!

Though more posts may be added in the future, there are no more planned at this time. See all posts about the twelve Minor Prophets:

  1. Hosea
  2. Joel
  3. Amos
  4. Obadiah
  5. Jonah
  6. Micah
  7. Nahum
  8. Habakkuk
  9. Zephaniah
  10. Haggai
  11. Zechariah
  12. Malachi

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.