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Pastoral Heartbeats ( 牧者心声) Nov 2021

Updated: Feb 25, 2022



Zephaniah was a 7th century BC prophet and as we have seen in the last 2 chapters of this Book, his message condemns Judah’s leadership and calls the people of Judah to repent before the arrival of God’s Day of Judgment.

As a prophetic preacher, he must be a terribly unpopular preacher as almost two third of his book deals with the horrific judgement and destruction and the of the world as they knew then.

Zephaniah pronounces God’s judgment on the kingdom, its wicked political and religious class, and its wealthy citizens who exploited the poor. Judah was blackened with murders, adulteries, oppressions, violent seizures of other people’s properties. People had abandoned God, they were haughty, insolent and rejecting His plan for their lives and contented with plunging headlong in search of their own destiny. They pursued their own interests with scant or no regard for God. A society in that state is a horrible place to live in.

The first 3 verses aptly describe the sad state of affairs:

Woe to the city of oppressors

Rebellious and defiled!

She obeys no one, she accepts no correction;

She does not trust in the Lord

She does not draw near to God

Her officials are roaring Lions

Her rulers are evening wolves

Who leave nothing for the morning

Zephaniah’s message of doom brought despair until at the end of his message when he offers new hope which brings singing and rejoicing to the remnants of Israel and those who repented. Judah’s sins were forgiven and will no longer be dominated by their enemies. The King of Israel is with them, never again will they fear any harm.

In vs 15, it says :

The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm

Imagine the dramatic change from destruction and hopelessness in a spiritual crisis to a promise of salvation from judgement, all because of God’s love. This promise of hope also speaks to us. Today God offers the same love. We may have a miserable past but God’s promise brings hope for the future.

A/P Lee Fook Choon


2021年11月牧者心声

西番雅是公元前7世纪的先知,正如我们在这本书的最后两章中看到的,他的信息谴责犹大的领导,呼吁犹太人在上帝的审判日到来之前悔改。

作为一个先知传教士,他一定是一个非常不受欢迎的传教士,因为他的书中几乎有三分之二是关于可怕的审判和毁灭以及他们当时所面临的困境。

西番雅宣告上帝对王国的审判,对邪恶的政治和宗教阶层,对剥削穷人的富人的审判。犹大因谋杀、奸淫、欺压、抢夺别人的家产而被玷污。人们抛弃了神,他们傲慢无礼,拒绝神对他们生命的计划,满足于一头冲进寻找他们自己的命运。他们追求自己的利益,很少或根本不顾上帝。那种状态的社会是一个可怕的地方。

前三节恰如其分地描述了可悲的状况:

欺压人的城有祸了;

叛逆和玷污!

不服从任何人,

也不接受责备;

她不相信上帝;

她不接近上帝;

她的首领是咆哮的狮子;

她的首领是夜狼;

谁会在早上什么都不留下

西番雅的末日信息带来了绝望,直到他的信息的最后,当他提供了新的希望,给以色列的残余和那些悔改的人带来歌唱和欢乐。犹大的罪已得赦免,不再被仇敌辖制。以色列的王与他们同在,他们必不再惧怕灾祸。

在第15节,它说:耶和华已经除掉你的刑罚,赶出你的仇敌。以色列的王耶和华与你同在。你再也不会害怕任何伤害。

想象一下,从属灵危机中的毁灭和绝望,到从审判中得救的应许,这一切的戏剧性变化,都是因为神的爱。这希望的承诺也是对我们说的。今天,上帝给予我们同样的爱。我们也许有悲惨的过去,但上帝的应许给未来带来了希望。

李福泉牧师


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