My friend’s eyes revealed what I was feeling—fear! We two teens had behaved poorly and were now cowering before the camp director. The man, who knew our dads well, shared lovingly but pointedly that our fathers would be greatly disappointed. We wanted to crawl under the table—feeling the weight of personal responsibility for our offense.
God gave Zephaniah a message for the people of Judah that contained potent words about personal responsibility for sin (Zephaniah 1:1, 6–7). After describing the judgments He would bring against Judah’s foes (chapter 2), He turned His eyes on His guilty, squirming people (chapter 3). “What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem,” God proclaimed (3:1 NLT). “They [are] still eager to act corruptly” (verse 7).
He’d seen the cold hearts of His people—their spiritual apathy, social injustice, and ugly greed—and He was bringing loving discipline. And it didn’t matter if the individuals were “leaders,” “judges,” “prophets”(verses 3–4)—everyone was guilty before Him.
The apostle Paul wrote the following to believers in Jesus who persisted in sin, “You are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. . . . [God] will judge everyone according to what they have done” (Romans 2:5–6). So, in Jesus’ power, let’s live in a way that honors our holy, loving Father and leads to no remorse.
And that’s the memo.
By Tom Felten and Our Daily Bread