The people against whom the Lord stretches his hand

Zephaniah 1:4-6
4 "I will stretch out My hand against Judah, And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place, The names of the idolatrous priests with the pagan priests-
5 Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; Those who worship and swear oaths by the LORD, But who also swear by Milcom;
6 Those who have turned back from following the LORD, And have not sought the LORD, nor inquired of Him."

In today's message the Lord is specifying against whom He stretches out his hand. They are as follow:-

Judah and Jerusalem: Here the Lord says all the inhabitants of Jerusalem but not the same in the case of Judah. Like I told you before the Old Testament is written more in a metaphor (shadow). When the Lord points to Judah and Jerusalem it means the people in that spiritual state. The spiritual life for people of God starts from Egypt and tops at Zion. So those who refuse to grow in spirit need to be alert; are you in Jerusalem, Judah or in Zion? Not growing in the Lord can have serious consequences.

The Lord gets more specific as to whom among them will He stretch his hand against.

Those who worship Baal: Mind you, the Lord is not speaking of the gentiles here, but of those who call themselves people of God. Among people of God we have people who worship Baal. The words Baal and Lord have the same meaning but they define different beings. Baal refers to an unknown god or lord. Here the Lord is speaking of people of God who do not know their God. They believe in Yahweh, Jesus, Holy Spirit... but do not know who They are. It is not that they cannot know; the point is that they do not desire to know because they do not really love Him.

Idolatrous priest and pagan priest: Yesterday someone inquired why I use the term 'believer Church' in my mails. I specified to him that it was to distinguish the Christian Churches from the Catholics Churches. Although the Catholics believe in Jesus Christ they do not follow Him. To follow Jesus Christ one needs to follow his Word. Those who reject his Word are as good a believer as Jehovah's Witness or a Jew or a Muslim. All these know Jesus Christ was for real and do acknowledge Him, but they all reject his Word. This is the reason why many among us worship idols and practice paganism even after calling ourselves Christians.

Those who worship from roof tops: The scriptures says those who worship from roof tops, meaning those who glory themselves in the Name of the Lord. These people do worship God but they worship themselves more than they worship God. They are people of the flesh desiring things of the flesh and these have more priority than the Truth.

Those who worship and swear by the Lord and by Milcom: You may say what is wrong with people who worship and swear (take oath / declare the promises) by the Lord? One needs to look at the grammar of verbs used here. The verbs 'worship' and 'swear' although have different grammar - Hithpael and Niphal respectively, yet the action is common which is reflexive, which means they worship or say the promises of the Lord out of habit. These people do not really mean their worship nor reflect on the promises which they declare. The word 'Milcom' used here is the same word translated 2500+ times as 'king', but here it has not been translated as king. The translators knew there was a difference here than the usual king. This Milcom refers to the Lord who comes as King - Christ the King.

Those who turn back from following the Lord: After coming to know the Lord I though, how is it possible for a person to deny Him? Can a blind man who has received sight continue to live like a blind man? I never thought it could be possible. But sadly, yes in spiritual world this is very possible. Solomon is a great testimony for us to learn from. Knowing the Truth does not mean having the Truth. It is only when we live the Truth we have the Truth in us. That is the reason Jesus said we will be set free from our sinful nature only when we know the Truth and follow.

Those who have not sought Him or inquired of Him: Knowing the Lord is a never ending process. We cannot at any stage settle down and say 'we know the Lord'. We need to continuously and persistently thirst to know Him. And there is no one who can show us the Lord except for His Son and His Spirit. It is only when we inquire of Them will we come to know Him.

[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord God, we ask You to forgive us if we are one in the list of people against whom You stretch out your hand against. We repent Lord that even after coming to know You we have denied You to ourselves and to those around us. Help us Lord to shine your light in us and to show You to the world that You alone are God and above all...

This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.

[ Reference Scripture ]
Zephaniah 1:12-18
12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

The Word of God was given free to us, therefore we should also share it freely with others.
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