"Prophetability - lessons of strength and power in the minor prophets!"
There is a story about a father and his son. The two were extremely close. Since the mother had died of cancer a few years earlier the two grew closer than ever. The boy grew up to be a young man. And suddenly he was called up to fight in the war. The father’s heart was broken as his son left. One day the father got a report he had been dreading. His son had been killed in combat. A few months later there was a knock at the door. It was a young man, whose arm had been blown off in battle. Beneath his good arm was a photo wrapped in brown paper. The young man spoke and said, Sir, you don’t know me but I wanted you to know that your son saved my life. He took the bullet so I wouldn’t have to. And your son meant so much to me I painted this picture of him. The soldier handed the picture to the proud father. The father unwrapped it to find a badly painted picture of his son. The father was actually a wealthy man that collected fine art. And he took his Picasso and Van Gough paintings down and instead put up the picture of his son. Years went by and the father grew old and weak. And he died. His house was to be auctioned, and people from all over the world came to his estate to bid for the Picasso and other famous paintings.
The auctioneer started the auction with the painting of the young son. Groans swept across the crowd. And they shouted, “Come on! Get on with the good stuff, take that worthless thing down.” The auctioneer ignored the jeers and said, “Who will make the first bid? A pound, anybody?” Up from the back came the old gardener and asked if he could buy it. The gardener had known the boy as he was growing up. He bought the picture for $1, and began to walk down the aisle with the picture tucked under his arms. Suddenly the auctioneer slammed down the mallet and said, “Sorry everyone.
The auction is over. In the Will it reads, ‘Whoever has the son, gets it all.” And that’s exactly what the Bible says!
"Whoever has the Son, gets it all." - Dr. Hughes
In Christ we have it all and its reason to SING and REJOICE! In 2 Corinthians 1:20 the scriptures say; “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are YES in Christ.” We keep that text in mind as we read from Zephaniah. This prophet had royal blood. He descended from king Hezekiah and he prophesied some time during the reign of reforming king Josiah. God spoke through Zephaniah about several important things. In Zephaniah we read about the Day of the Lord and a great judgment day. The prophet reminded his readers that Judah had failed to walk with God and it resulted in a national tragedy. There is one way and only one way to avoid great national tragedy and that is to be humble.
There are two key verses to point out. First of all, Zephaniah 2:3 says; “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.” Another key verse is found in Zephaniah 3:11-13 “On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. But I will leave within you the meek and the humble, who trust in the name of the LORD.”
Pride and hope can never go together. If we want to have a hope for the future we must let go of our pride.
We tend to think that a person is proud if they look in the mirror too much or if they boast about things they own or have done. But the greatest and most grotesque pride of all is seen in the one who says:” I’ll do it my way.” Once I officiated a funeral and the only song performed was a recording of Frank Sinatra singing; “I did it my way.” I truly hope that when I am finished with my time here that it can be said that I did things God’s way and not my way. There is no hope for those who will not come to God in humility but there is a stunning hope for those who will.
One of the most profound contributions of Zephaniah to the scriptures are the visions given of the distant future. These visions include a time when the humble remnant will be blessed. What is Judah to do when the blessing comes? V.14 says Judah is to celebrate and celebrating means singing, shouting aloud, being glad, and rejoicing! The people of God are often called to celebrate but why is Judah to celebrate? Judah is to celebrate because the Lord has done at least four things for her. He has taken away her punishment. He has turned back her enemy. He is with her. He has taken away cause for fear and all that sounds remarkably like what God has done for us too. Through the cross of Christ, God has taken away our punishment. Peter says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”(1 Pt 2:24). “Through Christ our enemy Satan has been defeated.”(Col 2:15). “Through Christ God is with us and nothing can separate us from God’s love.”(Rom 8:39). Jesus said, “I am with you always”(Mat 28:20).
John Piper says something I think is crucial: “We must banish from our minds forever any thought that God admits us begrudgingly into his Kingdom, as though Christ found a loophole in the law, did some fancy plea-bargaining and squeaked us by the Judge. No way! God himself, the Judge, put Christ forward as our substitutionary sacrifice, and when we trust him God welcomes us with bells on. He puts a ring on our finger, kills the fatted calf, throws a party, shouts a shout that shakes the ends of creation and leads in the festal dance.” There is coming a day when Israel will join the other nations in following the leader who will ultimately be completely consumed by Satan. He is known as the anti-Christ. Once he sets up the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple of God, requiring everyone to worship him, Israel will turn from following him. Once they do, the anti-Christ will rally his allies against Israel. When this happens, God will intervene for Israel and fight against their enemies. The 7 years of tribulation on this earth will end when Jesus appears to deliver the remnant of Israel from the attack of the anti-Christ.
At that moment, these descendants of Abraham will finally recognize that the man called Jesus, who was crucified many years ago, was and is indeed their Messiah.
Sometimes we talk and pray and think and act as if God were frowning down on us like a mechanic on a broken-down car. It seems some people just can’t hear the singing. They simply can’t imagine that God is literally overjoyed by them. God wants you to sing, shout, be glad and rejoice. Knowing this should change and energize your time of worship, give you hope, and keep you glorying in the one who loves you. Jesus Christ!
Rev. Wiley Hughes
D.Min., Psy.D., FBPPC, LPCA, NCC
Apostolic Leader of Destiny Now