God is good. I say that a lot, but it’s always true. In this section of Zephaniah, the prophet has begun to reveal God’s plan for redemption and restoration. Zephaniah follows a similar pattern to the majority of all of the Old Testament prophets in that God isn’t simply planning destruction of all people. We see that one, in the fact that we’re still alive and kicking, but two, in the sense that God always has a plan for restoration of his people. His goal is never anger or death. And that’s essential for us to wrestle with as we read through this (or any of the prophets).
As I’ve mentioned previously, I think it’s easy to get tunnel vision into aspects of God’s character in reading this rather than seeing the whole picture. For God to have done what He did so many times, so consistently (the entirety of the major and minor prophets), it had to have meant something - He was actually doing something big, not simply killing off the unfaithful. As we can find in Deuteronomy 6, God is “a jealous God,” one that has a heart fully set on His people. While we tend to find comfort in looking at His grace and mercy, we can also see the nature of His overwhelming love as He refuses to let some bad apples spoil the whole bunch. What I mean by that is although Zephaniah speaks of Israel’s unfaithfulness in the beginning of the book, God isn’t merely trying to destroy His people because He is upset. On the contrary, He sees that the only way to save the remnant of His people that will actually turn to Him is to purge the evil from the midst of His people. He saw that unless He rid Israel of those trying to lead them astray, His people as a whole would find their way into destruction. Rather than killing them, oddly enough He was doing all He could to truly save them. Paradigm shift.
The practical here may be a bit different than normal, but I think it’s super helpful. Today, my challenge to you is that you would examine things that have been taking place in your life for the past year. While that may be a huge chunk of time, one in which you’ve inevitably changed drastically, take the whole year and examine it altogether. Instead of focusing on small individual moments to dictate God’s character, use the whole year to piece together the big picture. Then ask God to show you what He’s been doing throughout the year. As we allow God to show us the big picture, we lose our offense, disappointment, or bitterness with Him because we see how He’s been working for our good throughout the midst of many small highs and lows over time.