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Bible Study: Courageous rest in God’s presence

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.

Bible Passage: Zephaniah 3:9-20

Discussion Questions:

  • What sounds most appealing to you about the promised kingdom referenced in verses 9-13?

Food for Thought by Nick Person*

Throughout the book of Zephaniah, the prophet spoke of God’s anger and judgment against Judah, the other nations and the city of Jerusalem. The people were guilty of chasing after other gods, and judgment was due. But the tone of Zephaniah’s prophecy makes a major shift beginning with Zephaniah 3:9. The refining fire of righteous anger would lead to the purification of the land and the people.

Verses 11-13 give us a glimpse of what the refinement of God will yield. Shame for our past actions will be removed, as well as arrogance and haughtiness. It will produce a humble people. God’s people will be established as a people who understand Who is on the throne, and they will act and walk accordingly in this truth. They “will no longer do wrong” (v. 13), doing what is right as they see the King who is righteous. They will not “tell lies,” nor have “a deceitful tongue,” for they will live with and serve the God of truth.

Especially inviting is the image that “they will pasture and lie down, with nothing to make them afraid.” Sheep won’t relax if they’re afraid, and they won’t eat if they feel threatened. Yet, here are God’s people who have had their fill and are contentedly resting. They are resting in the presence of their Shepherd.

Notice to whom this future kingdom applies: “I will leave a meek and humble people among you, and they will take refuge in the name of the Lord” (v. 12). The Hebrew word for “meek” refers to those who are poor and weak, and “humble” refers to those who are in need and physically afflicted. There is no pride or arrogance among them because they know there is nothing in them. They are in desperate need, and that recognition draws them to God.

In this refining process, God will remove fear from those who humble themselves before Him. When we bow to the right One, we don’t need to fear lesser things. God sits on His throne and all fear will ultimately be removed.

*Nick Person is a teaching pastor at New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Bible Studies for Life

Bible Studies for Life is a family of resources that addresses key issues in the lives of adults, students, and kids. Visit biblestudiesforlife.com and use it to help you “Connect the Unconnected, Strengthen Families, and Disciple People with Wisdom.” Free session downloads are available, plus PDFs and videos that accompany this Bible study resource.

    About the Author

  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources