An open Bible being read

Finding the good news in the bad

An open Bible being read

What’s the book of the Bible you’re least likely to read? Chances are, it’s going to be one of the Minor Prophets. And that’s hardly a surprise, given their consistently gloomy messages. But even though it might make sense to use, if we truly believe all of God’s Word is profitable for us and helps us grow in godliness (2 Timothy 3:16), then we shouldn’t neglect them.

Despite their being filled with a tremendous amount of bad news, there is good news for us in these neglected books. This is a theme I am exploring (with the help of a few friends) in a new series on The Gospel Project blog. First on my list? Zephaniah:

[Zephaniah 1:15–16] are two bad news verses in a bad news book of the Bible. Zephaniah’s prophecy was one of urgent warning, not just to the nations that threatened the kingdom of Judah, but to Judah as well. God warned that judgment would come to all who continued to stand in opposition to Him—those who did right in their own eyes and ignored the commands of God; those who acted as “wolves” and “roaring lions” preying on the weak (3:3).

Why did God want His people to hear this bad news? Was He sitting on His throne, gleefully waiting for the moment to smite these evildoers? By no means! God wanted the people to know what was coming so they might escape it:

Gather yourselves together; gather together, undesirable nation, before the decree takes effect and the day passes like chaff, before the burning of the Lord’s anger overtakes you, before the day of the Lord’s anger overtakes you. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who carry out what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:1-3)

“Gather yourselves together . . . before the day of the Lord’s anger overtakes you,” Zephaniah told them. “Seek the Lord.”

That’s what we need to see in this book because it is the good news. God didn’t tell the people what was coming because He wanted them to cower in fear. He told them what was coming so they would flee from their sin. So they would find refuge in Him.

God warned them of the consequences of living apart from Him so they would seek Him.

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