“Yahweh your God is among you,
a Warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will bring you quietness with His love.
He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”
Sometimes God puts a verse in front of you and you just can’t shake it. This verse has been burning on my heart and mind lately. It appeared first in a Bible study, with the instructions to write it down and meditate on it. Then it began showing up everywhere. My son’s Bible memory verse CD, a book, a song I used to like. I began to ask God “why?”. What did it mean for me?
Lately, other things have been burning on my heart as well. Thoughts, convictions, prayers. Presidential candidates to decide between. Helpless babies being deemed not-yet-human and sold. “Christian Conservatives” being revealed to be deceptive hypocrites and liars. Syrian refugees desperately needing help. Students shooting each other at my Alma Mater.
Then, in the midst of all this, Zephaniah 3:17. But why? What did it mean? And more specifically, what did it mean God wanted from me?
Saturday morning there was quiet at my house for once. My husband was gone hunting and my children’s chests were rising and falling in much-needed sleep. I opened my Bible and read all of the words Zephaniah penned…and suddenly it all made sense.
This book? It is us. America. “Land of the Free”…and land of the prideful, self-sufficient, and godless.
“I will completely sweep away everything
from the face of the earth–this is the Lord’s declaration…
those who turn back from following the Lord,
who do not seek the Lord or inquire of Him.”
We Americans often think we’re special. We think our nation is perfect. We boast in ourselves and seek the wisdom of the world, yet if something doesn’t change, our judgement and fall is at hand.
“This is what they get for their pride,
because they have taunted and acted arrogantly
against the people of the Lord of Hosts.”
Has anybody watched daytime television lately and see how Christians are treated?
“Woe to the city that is rebellious and defiled,
the oppressive city!
She has not obeyed;
she has not accepted discipline.
She has not trusted in Yahweh;
she has not drawn near to God.
The princes within her are roaring lions;
her judges are wolves of the night,
which leave nothing for morning.
Her prophets are reckless–treacherous men.
Her priests profane the sanctuary;
they do violence to instruction.”
Our land fits this to a tee. Yet we Christians aren’t really turning to the Lord either. We think that by voting for the best man that meets all of our criteria, sharing videos of Planned Parenthood leaders on Facebook, and taking a heavy stance on the gun control issue that we can somehow fix our country. We seek to legislate and bully change, when the true problem lies in people’s hearts.
To quote my ever-wise mother, “We do not have a gun problem, political problem, Democrat vs. Republican problem, or Obama problem. We have a spiritual problem that can only be addressed by filling the heart with the Holy Spirit of God.”
That’s where the good news comes in: God also offers hope.
“On that day you will not be put to shame
because of everything you have done
in rebelling against Me.
For then I will remove
your proud, arrogant people from among you,
and you will never again be haughty on My holy mountain.
I will leave a meek and humble people among you,
and they will take refuge in the name of Yahweh.”
Remember how man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart? Perhaps we’re looking for answers in all the wrong things. Perhaps instead of pridefully voting for whom we deem to be the best speaker, who would make the best “leader” in the world’s eyes, and who meets all of our “criteria”, we should be voting for someone who is humble and meek, with the Holy Spirit indwelling in them. Perhaps we’re seeking to change people’s minds through prideful, vindictive Facebook posts instead covering them with prayer and Christ’s love. Perhaps instead of trying to fix everybody else or win them over with emotion-driven spiritual movements, we should be humbling ourselves, seeking God, and letting Him change our own hearts.
Don’t hear me wrong…we most certainly need revival and change in America. It’s just that revival and change begin in our own hearts first. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop seeking the Lord. Don’t stop sharing the gospel. In fact, pursue these things more than ever. Let’s just stop trying to fix things through our own knowledge and strength, and instead start humbling ourselves and asking God to change things His way, through people’s hearts.
True hope and change can only come through humbling ourselves and admitting that we can’t…but He can.