One of Zephaniah’s accusations against Judah is very fitting for today. It is perhaps one of the chief sins of those who call themselves Christians today. Wherever we turn, we see this manifested in so many lives of those call themselves by the name of the Lord. We find it in chapter one verse five: “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.” Notice the sinister syncretism found in this verse.
These people still thought of themselves as God’s people. They were, after all, Judah, God’s faithful portion, not like the sinful Northern Kingdom of Israel that had been long ago overthrown by Assyria and scattered to the four winds. No, they were still the chosen ones. But notice what commandment they were violating: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3). The very first of the Ten Commandments. In that command the word “before” is best translated “besides.” God was not just saying you cannot have any gods that take precedence over me. He was also saying you cannot have any gods along with me. This was the sin of Judah that Zephaniah denounces.
What about us today? We claim to be faithful people of God yet so often we still bow down to the other gods around us — Gods like materialism, pleasure, greed, success, power, leisure. We say we worship the one true God but we let other things push him out of his rightful place of worship in our lives. Let us each examine our own hearts to see if this be true, in any way, of us.
Prayer: Father, forgive us for letting our hearts be diluted from the pure worship of you. Help us to resist the lure of other things that take your place in our affection. Forgive us from trusting in anyone or anything but you. Help us in our unbelief.