Zephaniah 1: The Benefits of Justice
Zephaniah is clearly not the most popular book of the Bible, and I have to be honest that the only time I have ever read it was when I committed to reading through the entire Bible in a year. Therefore, this is a lot of relatively new material for me as well. I think that I need to do more with the minor prophets.
Anyway, we’re clearly talking about judgment in this chapter, and one verse stood out to me as pretty much the summary of the entire chapter.
Zep 1:18 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 nation of Judah might have money. They might have political power, and they might be able to look good on the balance sheet. However, when God is bringing the judgment which is described previously in this chapter, it is not like they can buy their way out of it. They are subject to justice.
If you think about it, that is justice by definition. We don’t want our judges on earth to be convinced by money. We don’t want them to change their decisions based on cash. When the judge comes to a conclusion based on the evidence that there needs to be punishment, that is a decision that needs to be made irrespective of social status.
I know that sometimes people have a problem with the justice of God. Why does God have to punish? However, when you see situations like this, I think it makes a lot more sense. Clearly, there are things that are being abused, and isn’t it better to have a God who is going to call a spade a spade and bring people back to the right path? Doesn’t that ultimately work out better than having a God who doesn’t bring about justice?
The bottom line is that we don’t like justice when we want to be justified in our sin. However, removing that emotion from it, justice is a natural desire I feel, and it is good that God doesn’t pervert it by caring about things like social status or money.