Zephaniah: Quieted By His Love

Quieted by His Love
By: Emily Burnette

Zephaniah’s prophecy came near the beginning of King Josiah’s reign. King Josiah was trying to reform Judah after two previous kings had established evil trends in Judah. Zephaniah was a descendent of King Hezekiah.

Zephaniah’s message was one of judgment for sin and then hope for the future. Chapters 1 and 2 focus on the judgment of Judah and the nations.
Chapter three begins with Zephaniah addressing Jerusalem’s apparent stage of rebellion and sin. After describing in detail the sins of Jerusalem, Zephaniah reminds the people of Judah about God’s previous judgments. However, Zephaniah concludes the chapter on a joyful note. He reminds Judah that after judgment comes, there will be blessing for those who remain.

Through Zephaniah, God is quieting Judah with His love. When I first tried to imagine what it would look like for God to quiet me with His love or to rejoice over me with singing, especially if I was a part of such a rebellion as Judah was at the time, I couldn’t even put into words how it would feel. After further reflection, I was able to describe how it would feel through an image. I came up with an image of a sunset on the ocean that I couldn’t shake from I head. I then realized that for God to quiet me at a time of such rebellion of Judah, I would be in complete awe and totally still before the Lord. What would it look like for the Lord to quiet you with His love or rejoice over you with singing, especially if you were a part of such a rebellion as Judah was at the time?

Zephaniah: Beyond Darkness

Zephaniah: Beyond Darkness
By Lauren Murphy

Zephaniah 2:11
“The Lord will be awesome to them when He destroys all the gods of the earth. Distant nations will now down to Him, all of them in their own lands.”

The book of Zephaniah was written by Zephaniah during the reign of King Josiah. But a detail that is often overlooked is the kings who reigned before Josiah. First is Manasseh. Well to put it simply, Manasseh was bad. Manasseh’s father, Hezekiah, had done a pretty good of bringing the nation of Judah back to fearing God. Hezekiah was human and sinned, but was on the right track. Then comes Manasseh. His dad had worked so hard and diligently to remove the ungodly things from the temple. With the help of God, Hezekiah was successful. The next thing you know, Manasseh has brought all the idols back in. So the entire nation of Judah follows the example of the king. The nation rebuilt the temples dedicated to idols and false gods. They even filled God’s temple with idols. This pattern of lifestyle continues through Manasseh’s son, Amon. Amon is murdered and his replaced by his son Josiah. As you can imagine, the entire nation is in trouble, and to top things off, is being led by an eight year old. But God proves that he can work through anyone. I forgot to mention before, but Judah was having some problems with Assyria. The people of Judah are in some serious trouble- they are rejecting the God, who delivered their ancestors from slavery and they are not fearing the one true God, but Assyria. This is where Zephaniah comes in. It’s pretty obvious that Judah needs somebody to step up to the plate- and Zephaniah does. He wrote this book to Judah and all the areas surrounding it that they would now the power and awesomeness of the one true God.

The book of Zephaniah is pretty much God saying if you think that the punishment Judah is going to get for their sin is big, then just wait until God comes back a second time. Chapter 1 starts out by God saying that one day He will destroy everything. All the idols, animals, temples, even mankind. He makes it very clear that He is sovereign and in control. Verse 15 talks about judgement day and says, “That day will be a day of wrath— a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.”
Zephaniah 1:15

God is telling everyone, not just the people of Judah, that on judgement day there will be no gray areas. You are either on God’s team or you aren’t.

Chapter 2
The second chapter is written more to Judah, but can still be applied to us. The message translates the first verse like this, “Get yourselves together! Shape up!” They are being told to seek God with everything they have and to follow after Him with all of their heart. It goes on to say that all the idols, the ones that were talked about on chapter one, will all be blown away. Nothing will be left standing but the one true God and everyone will fall to their knees and worship Him.

Chapter 3
The last chapter goes on about Judah’s disobedience. They refuse to listen to instruction and remain unrepentant.
But God does not leave it at that. God says he will redeem he nation of Judah, he will but them back despite all of their sin. He will oppress of all of their enemies and take care of them. All Judah has to do is rest their eyes on God and his awesome power. His awesomeness will be so great, all other the other nations will recognize it and bow down.

When you think about it, we are very similar to Judah. We don’t always fix our eyes on Christ, we put things in front of God, and we rely on our own strength and power to beat the enemy. We totally ignore God and try to handle all of our problems on our own in our own power. But God is waiting with open arms. We just need to hand over everything- our sins, worries, problems, and concerns over to the awesome and mighty God and he will take care of us. He will rescue, gather you, and bring you honor and praise. Our God is so awesome, sovereign, powerful, amazing, and in control that every single human being on this planet will one day bow before Him. We have two choices. We can decide to do it our own way, with our own fake gods that have no power, and ultimately fail OR put your faith in the awesome God who never fails. Which one will you choose?

Nahum: God’s answer to Injustice

Nahum 1: God’s Answer to Injustice
By: Madyson Elmore

Nahum 1:2 “God is serious business. He won’t be trifled with…” (The Message) and He sent Nahum to prove it!

Nahum wrote this as a poem. Chapter one was written to share God’s majesty and might. He wrote chapter two & three to share details about what happened in Nineveh.

Nahum was sent as a prophet, around 612 BC, to Nineveh to warn them that they would soon be destroyed. Just like Jonah, and later Zephaniah, he was to tell them that their sins against God had continued on for too long.

Nineveh was known for its wealth, but the Bible emphasizes their problem with prostitution. God was not pleased with the way the people of Nineveh were acting. Jonah, reluctantly, had already been sent to Nineveh to warn them. They had changed their ways for the time being. Later, they returned to their old ways and God was not happy. Nahum 1:7-8 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh (NIV). God is a loving and caring God, but He had to put His foot down when He saw the things that were happening in Nineveh.

Nahum’s prophecy was fulfilled about 10-15 years later. Nineveh went up in flames just like he had prophesied. Verse 3 says that Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished… it’s safe to say He’s serious.

Micah 4-5

Micah 4-5
By Eric Murphy

“The Gospel is good news to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.”

John R.W. Stott

In the first verse of the book Micah he says the the word of God came to him during the reign of Jotham. The word of God that came to Micah was the prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ. Micah’s name means,”who is like God. During the time of Micah Israel was full of sin and corruption, all across the nation. While Micah was bringing a message from God, a message of redemption and salvation.

Micah 5:2 says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” This prophecy of the coming of Christ is significant because this is prophesied over 400 years before it is fulfilled.

Now, many of you have heard the message of the Gospel and how Jesus died to save us from our sins and hell. But I encourage you to be like Micah, who brought the good news to the people around him who were caught in sin. Many comparisons can be made between Israel in the time of Micah and our nation today. I hope that you will be the one that will bring the good news to others around you, not only by telling them, but by setting an example in the way that you live your life.

Will you be the one who changes someone else’s life through what you say to them or how you act? Or, will you be content with not speaking up knowing that what you say has an impact on someone else’s eternal destination?


By Christina Dininger

If you are loved, there will be discipline. As children, everyone had times where they were punished by their parents. At the time we think our parents must not love us because they are being ‘mean’ to us. Most of the time, this punishment is for our own good. When we do things wrong, we need someone we can trust to discipline us so that we know not to do it again. God is our father and he needs to discipline us because we are his children. In Deuteronomy 28:1, God promises that if Israel carefully follows all of his commands, he will set them high above all the nations on the Earth. Sounds like a good promise, right? Well, Israel needed to read the fine print. In Deuteronomy 28:58, God also promises that if Israel does not follow the words of the law, he will send fearful plagues, disasters, and illnesses. Israel started worshiping false idols, so they paid the price. It was not only once that this occurred, but many times.

Many non-believers think that our God is terrible because he allows things such as natural disasters, wars, etc. to go on. This is one of the difficult parts to understand in Micah. God allows Israel to be destroyed by the Assyrians and brings judgment upon them. He does this, not because he doesn’t like them or because he wants bad things to happen to them. He does this because he loves them, and they must learn from their mistakes.

Micah 1:5 says, “All this is because of Jacob’s transgression, because of the sins of the people of Israel…” The discipline was a result of Israel’s sins. God did not punish them out of hate, but out of love. He loved them, just as he loves everybody, and if you are loved, there will be discipline.


By Sami Hoerger

Jonah had tried to run and hide from the Lord. We all know what happened, a big storm came while at sea and Jonah was thrown overboard. He was swallowed by a whale and was in the stomach 3 days and 3 nights. During that time, Jonah prayed to the Lord saying he would make things right, he asked for forgiveness, and offered to make sacrifices in his life because the Lord had saved him from drowning. Then the Lord made the whale vomit Jonah onto dry land.

Now, I know what you are all thinking, yes it is the same story you have probably heard since you were little. But, what you probably didn’t hear was what happened after this.

The Lord told Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and give a message. The message was “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown!” and everyone believed it was a true message from God. Once they heard this, they were ordered to turn from their evil ways and ask God for forgiveness of their sins in hope of God forgiving him and changing their mind.

When God saw this, he decided not to bring the destruction on them. The theme is “Good News for the Enemy?” well, if that was a question someone were asking me, I would say they were not the Enemy anymore when the good news came. God changed his mind because the city of Nineveh realized what they had done wrong and decided to make a change. I think that is the big picture to this story. If we realize what we have done wrong, then God will see that and forgive. If we don’t and keep on making the same mistakes, then nothing is really going to get any better in our life. We all sin, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be forgiven for it.


Amos 1-3
By: Eric Murphy

In our culture today, it is common to hear someone say “that’s not fair” or complain that life isn’t fair. It is also common to see the same people who use this reasoning try to escape the consequences of their actions, instead of taking responsibility and accepting the punishment that is “fair.” This same pattern of behavior was seen by Amos, and that is why he writes this book to the people of Judah. In our lives there are consequences for the choices that we make, but there is not always punishment. Punishment is a penalty that is given to us for an action by someone over us, Judah is not just recieving the consequences of their actions, they are being punished by God.

Amos was a shepherd, who lived during the reign of Uzziah in Judah. In his book he is inspired by God to warn the people of Judah and Israel of God’s coming punishment. This book is a warning to the people of God and it gives them instructions on what God expects them to do in order to avoid punishment.

God tells the Israelites through Amos that if they do not turn from their evil ways, “the swift will not escape, the strong will not muster their strength, and the warrior will not save his life.” In Amos and in other parts of the Bible God takes his duty to punish his people very seriously. Likewise our parents and those in authority also punish us for our actions because they want what is best for us. While punishment is the best for us, it hurts us to be punished by people that we love. We even become discouraged when the people that we love are disappointed in us. Amos is pleading to the people of Israel to change because God is very serious about his warning to the Israelites.

Think and pray about… Is God warning you to change your ways before he has to punish you?

What will your reaction be the next time you face punishment?

How will your view of punishment change through the reading of Amos?

A Refuge & Stronghold

By Conner O’Day

Little is known about Joel, but we know he was one of the Twelve Minor Prophets. (Today’s text is Joel 3:1-21) What was God trying to communicate with us through Joel 3:1-21 and especially Joel 3:16?

“The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem. The earth the heavens will tremble, but the Lord will be a refuge for his people and stronghold for the people of Israel.”

God is trying to say in this verse (Joel 3:16) is that even when life gets rough and everything seems to be going bad God will always be there for you. It also says that if you trust God during troubled times he will reward you. In verse 17 “Then you will know that I, the Lord your, God dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.” Also verse 18 “In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house and will water the valley of acacias.” Both of these verses display the rewards that God gives if you put faith in Him. It is very important for us to put out trust in God. But it is also very hard. We all have that mind set of “I can do it on my own,” but we can’t do it alone. In Luke 1:37 it says that “Nothing is impossible with God”. If we put our faith in God we can accomplish anything. So what this text is saying is if we put our faith in God during our times of trouble we will get rewarded for it…

…It may not be a material reward, it may not be immediate, it may not be what we would expect… But God is faithful and promises to be a refuge and a stronghold for His people.

Summer Study Series: An Introduction

Today marks the beginning of a journey that will take us through each of the minor prophets this summer (Hosea through Malachi). The truth that the “minor” prophets brought forth was anything but minor. The only reason they are called minor is that they are much shorter than the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, which are sometimes called the “major” prophets.

As we move through this study, we’ll have opportunities to hear from the voices of the prophets of old, and we’ll also have opportunities to hear testimony from voices of today and we’ll see in both how the truth of God’s word continues to challenge and transform lives. This week we are beginning with the book of Hosea. Approximately three days a week throughout the summer there will be blog posts that will help guide our reading and study together. On Sunday mornings’s at The VINE, after our week of reading and studying, we’ll engage together as a group in getting to the heart of the message of each book.

Recognizing the power of God’s work among his people, this study is a collaborative, effort and your participation is key. If you’re interested in signing up to research and write one of the weekly study entries as we go along, you’ll be able to do so at The VINE beginning this Sunday morning, and help will always be available along the way.

I’m so looking forward to the transforming power of the truth of God’s word shaping our lives together as we journey together this summer.


Introduction to Hosea:

Hosea was a prophet that lived and prophesied to the northern part of God’s divided kingdom of Israel (sometimes referred to as Ephraim), around the time just before they were defeated by the Assyrian Empire (755-715 BC).

Hosea is in essence about a painful love story. It begins with a personal illustration of Hosea own marriage relationship that involves his adulterous wife, who acted like a prostitute despite Hosea’s continual loyal faithfulness, passionate provision and continual pursuit.

At the time of Hosea’s prophecy, Israel had become pretty distracted from the heart of God. They had become greedy in the midst of prosperity, committed all kinds of injustices against the poor, and had turned to foreign idol worship, which Hosea referred to as adultery against the Lord their God. Throughout Hosea’s prophecy, we see very vividly the painful suffering love of the Lord for his people, even in the midst of their unfaithfulness. God’s fury, His jealousy, and His own passion for His people, are on display through Hosea’s words and through his life.

Hosea shows us that God’s concern for His people in the midst of their idolatry, sin, and rebellion are not just about some vague religious matter, but about something deeply personal. God doesn’t want to be involved in the lives of people in a distant impersonal way, but uses this incredibly powerful illustration of the love of a husband toward his wife to show how much He loves them.

Reading for Monday & Tuesday:

Read chapters 1-3 of Hosea which compare Hosea’s marriage to Israel’s relationship with God. Pay special attention to 3:1 which says, “The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress…” As you read, think about your own relationship with the Lord and how His grace, love and faithfulness are constant even in the midst of our wanderings.