ODJ: Starting Over

June 25, 2016 

READ: Zephaniah 1:1-12, 3:14-20  

On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name...as I restore your fortunes. ...I, the Lord, have spoken! (3:20).

As part of their training, all new presenters on the radio use a practice log—an exact replica of the live log except for one small difference in the file name. It’s a little like a flight simulator for pilots; you get to make mistakes without embarrassing or devastating consequences. It’s a great system for trainees, but if seasoned presenters accidentally use the practice log to prerecord their radio programmes, they won’t be able to air.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all get a practice run at life, hit ‘delete’ when we mess up and start over? The people of Judah during the time of Zephaniah could relate. God was weary of all the evil He saw and threatened to wipe clean the face of the earth. No, this isn’t the story of Noah (Genesis 6:7), although it certainly sounds familiar.

The prophet Zephaniah lived during the reign of King Josiah of Judah (Zephaniah 1:1). Those in the city of Jerusalem had become complacent in sin that threatened to keep them from a loving relationship with God. The Lord’s passion for His people led Him to call them to worship Him alone (v.5). He threatened to destroy “every last trace of their Baal worship” and save a small remnant of the faithful (1:4, 2:7, 3:13). Zephaniah spoke of a day when the Lord would once again reign in the hearts of His people and live among them (3:15-17).

Hundreds of years later, the Son of God walked the earth, was crucified for our sins, rose again and made a way for us to have a fresh start through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s grace was revealed in Zephaniah’s day and continues to flow to us in Jesus. What an amazing God, allowing us to start anew in our relationship with Him!

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day plan: Luke 5:1-39

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 for more on the new start we have in Christ. 
Have you experienced a fresh start in Jesus? If not, what’s holding you back? How has God revealed His grace to all people?