“The Lord will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth: people shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations.” Zephaniah 2:11 NKJV
[Thought questions for The Day of the Lord May 29, 2013]
1. An inclusive belief. From what you have studied so far in the final books of the Old Testament, would you say that God’s concept of His believers is inclusive? or exclusive? Does God’s call focus on making a select group of people perfect? Or of a select group of people reaching out to meet the needs of those who have not heard or do not understand the gospel? Why does God keep working with his chosen people when they continue to rebel against Him, setting a horrible example of behavior and attitudes to the watching world? Why doesn’t He just start over?2. Zephaniah’s proclamation. After anticipating news of the soon-coming “Day of the Lord” when God’s people would at last find peace and prosperity, how did they respond to the surprising news that the “Day of the Lord” instead would be a time of doom and gloom even for them? How could that be? Why is God so angry over the disobedience of His own people? Would you rather have a God who is always pleasant and smiling no matter what happens? What message of hope does Sunday’s lesson provide regarding what happens after the judgment of the “Day of the Lord”? Will we still be learning to follow Jesus in the life to come?
3. The humble of the Lord. Do we tend to think of a humble person as someone who is always subued and silent? How would you define “wholesome humility”? Why is it so hard even for professed Christians to adapt an attitude of wholesome humility? As we approach God in prayer and meditation, what happens to our desire to be humble before Him? How does God in His might and power inspire within us a spirit of meekness and humility? Can the humble Christian obtain strength and power from God? Do you know people in your church or church group who strike you as being truly humble in the best sense? What should your relationship be to such people?
4. Corruption in the City of God. What a relief! God is pointing out to His prophet Zephaniah the shortcomings of neighbors of Judah: Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Cush, Assyria. How does His message change when He brings up the topic of the spiritual condition of the people of God’s own city, Jerusalem? Suppose a speaker at your church begins his or her sermon by calling the congregation treacherous and evil. Should we be preaching more condemnation in our churches today? What could be the consequences? When the Israelites heard these stern proclamations, what do you think their inner thoughts were?
5. God rules. Is it hard to believe that God has a hand in the way our world runs? Did you notice the quote in Friday’s lesson that states, “…when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of wrath begins…Mercy no longer pleads in their behalf.” Picture God as the Great Accountant. The Great Judge. Can you trust Him to give you a fair hearing in the courts of heaven? Will He be calling down judgment in order to thin the population to a reasonable number? What hope does the human being have when facing such odds? What is a redeeming truth about God’s willingness to offer all His salvation? (John 3:16)