February 7th 2009

Wherever You Are…

“The Lord will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from His own place, indeed all the shores of the nations”. (NKJ)

“God will be seen as truly terrible-a Holy Terror.
All earth-made gods will shrivel up and blow away;
And everyone, wherever they are, far or near,
will fall to the ground and worship him”. (The Message)

“The Lord will be terrible to them, for He will make lean and famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship Him, every one from his place, even all the isles and coastlands of the nations”. (AMP)

“The LORD will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the land. The nations on every shore will worship him, every one in its own land”. (NIV)

Zephaniah 2:11

Sometimes when I re-read a passage of the Bible I come across a phrase that I had not noticed previously. For example, take the passage above.

The Old Testament prophet Zephaniah was anxious to warn the people that their gods were a false security that would not rescue them in the end. This was a strong message, but they did not listen and continued to indulge in their idolatries. In passing, Zephaniah discusses worship and says that each person shall worship from his own place: the phrase had not struck me before. It is an amazing thought.

Both the Israelites and the nations around them had a deep sense of holy places where the presence of God was greater than elsewhere. The Bible refers to these – the high places, the holy of holies, the tabernacle of meeting, etc. Remember the story of Moses and the burning bush and the idea of holy ground? As we go through the Old Testament, prophets such as Zephaniah begin to get a glimpse of how God is not far removed from us, nor is His presence limited to special places. Jeremiah also saw it. “Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD, “And not a God afar off?” (Jeremiah 23:23 NKJ).

By the time we get to the New Testament, the teaching about the presence of God develops. God is everywhere at any time. He is in the believer, not watching us from a distance. Wherever we are becomes a holy spot because God is there with us. God is worshipped anywhere – by the banks of rivers, in churches, in schools, in houses, in our own private areas of life.

And here we find Zephaniah pointing to that idea. God is bigger than the boxes we put Him in. Wherever you are right now, God is present. He’s there with you.

Father, thank you that wherever I am, there you are too. You don’t keep your distance from me, and I can turn to you no matter where I am and you are there. Help me never to lose sight of your presence.

Study by James Henderson

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