The Dark Side Of Love

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In our study, we will look at jealousy which is the dark side of love. We have all heard that God is love but we do not often hear that he is also a jealous God and he is jealous because of that love for his people.

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Zephaniah 1:1

This is the word of ADONAI that came to Tz'fanyah the son of Kushi, the son of G'dalyah, the son of Amaryah, the son of Hizkiyah, during the reign of Yoshiyahu the son of Amon, king of Y'hudah:

We are introduced to the prophet Zephaniah and, in Hebrew, his name means "hidden of the Lord". We see that he was from a royal family (Hezekiah was the 14th king of Judah) and he is the only known Old Testament prophet from a royal background. This fact is a reminder that God will usually use the lesser things (and people) of this world but he can use the rich and famous as well.

Zephaniah 1:2 & 3

"I will completely sweep away everything off the face of the land," says ADONAI. "I will sweep away humans and animals, the birds in the air and the fish in the sea, also the wicked and what makes them stumble; I will wipe humanity off the land," says ADONAI.

The prophet wastes no time in sharing the fact that God is going to completely judge the earth and everything that is on it. The fact that nothing will escape is demonstrated by the fact that even the fish of the sea will be judged. The Jews would have been aware of the judgment of God as they would have known the story of Noah and the flood but this judgment is different in that it is total (Creatures in the sea were not judged with the flood). This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled but we get details of what is to come in the book of Revelation.

Zephaniah 1:4

"I will stretch out my hand over Y'hudah and all those living in Yerushalayim. I will wipe every remnant of Ba'al from this place, the idol-serving priests and even their names,

We see that God promises to put his hand over the people of Judah & Jerusalem and this speaks of him protecting the people of Israel. We see that he is going to purify them by removing idolatry from their midst.

Zephaniah 1:5 & 6

those worshipping heaven's army on the roofs, also those who worship and swear by ADONAI but swear by Malkam as well, those who turned away from following ADONAI, and those who haven't sought ADONAI or consulted him at all."

Here, we are introduced to the "dark side of love" which is jealousy. We see that God says he will cut off those that worship false gods alongside him and the word translated as cut off is the same word for covenant. God insists that his people worship none but him and that was the first of his commandments given to Moses (see Exodus 20). It is the same for us today in that God wants us to be Holy (set apart) for him.

Zephaniah 1:7

Keep silent before Adonai ELOHIM, for the Day of ADONAI is near. ADONAI has prepared a sacrifice; he has set apart those he invited.

This verse speaks of the day of the Lord and what is commonly called the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19). On this "day of the Lord", there will be no paying lip service to God like the idolatry that was occurring among Judah. The Lamb's Book Of Life contains the guest list for the wedding supper and entry was paid for by Yeshua Messiah the Lamb of God.

Zephaniah 1:8

When the time comes for ADONAI's sacrifice - "I will punish the leaders and the sons of the king, also those who dress in foreign clothes.

There is a dress code for this event and the appropriate clothing is apparel that has been washed white by Yeshua Messiah. Those that do not have garments of white will not be allowed in and in fact they will be sent to their punishment.

Zephaniah 1:9

On the same day I will also punish all who jump over the threshold to fill the house of their master with violence and deceit.

On the day of judgment, those who practiced idolatry will be punished. The "skipping over the threshold" refers to the priests and followers of Dagon (see 1 Samuel 5:5) that were bringing pagan practices into the temple. This is also the sort of thing that is happening in the churches of today where people "gather to worship God" but also have Christmas trees, trick or treating, Valentine's Day, and many other pagan practices at the same time.

Zephaniah 1:10

Also on that day," says ADONAI, "a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate, wailing from the city's Second Quarter and a loud crash from the hills.

As we saw in Nehemiah 3, the Fish Gate was where the fishermen brought the fish into the city to provide food for the people. We see that, on this day of judgment, God will remove his hand of provision from the people and they will cry out.

Zephaniah 1:11

Wail, you who live down in the hollow, because all the merchants are destroyed, all who trade with silver are ruined.

On this day the commercial system will be judged as well. This is similar to what is described by John in Revelation 18. This speaks of those that have made money and the pursuit of money the focus of their lives and it is the same thing that Yeshua was speaking about in Matthew 6:24.

Zephaniah 1:12

When that time comes, I will search Yerushalayim with lamps and punish those who are [smug and thick, like wine] left too long on its dregs, who say to themselves, 'ADONAI will do nothing - neither good nor bad.'

Searching Jerusalem using candles speaks of Passover and the search that was conducted (using candles) to rid the home of any leaven and we remember that leaven has to do with anything that is not right and proper for that time. We see that God says he is going to punish those that are not willing to change and be conformed to the ways of god. In their idolatry, there were those who said that God was like a wooden idol and did not do anything either good or evil. On the day of judgment, these people will see that God is both alive and active. The same thing is happening today as many believe in a distant god that they just pray to when they need something.

Zephaniah 1:13

For this, their wealth will be plundered; and their houses will be destroyed. Yes, they will build houses but not live in them; they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine."

This verse speaks of frustration and the fact that, although the people do the work, they will go from having plenty to being slaves. This is much like what is described in Revelation 6 where John describes how the people will work a whole day just to buy food for themselves.

Zephaniah 1:14

The great Day of ADONAI is near, near and coming very quickly; Hear the sound of the Day of ADONAI! When it's here, even a warrior will cry bitterly.

You can almost feel how near this day is today as it feels like things are speeding up. This day of judgment is surely coming and it will indeed be a bitter day for those that are not trusting in Yeshua Messiah. The sound of the day speaks of the blowing of the shofar which is a reminder of God's provision for victory.

Zephaniah 1:15-17

That Day is a Day of fury, a Day of trouble and distress, a Day of waste and desolation, a Day of darkness and gloom, a Day of clouds and thick fog, a Day of the shofar and battle-cry against the fortified cities and against the high towers [on the city walls]. "I will bring such distress on people that they will grope their way like the blind, because they have sinned against ADONAI. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their bowels like dung.

Today, many people have only been told about a part of God's nature which is his love for us and so many will ask "How could our loving God do this to his people?" The simple fact of the matter is that, on this day, God's children will not be on the earth to experience his wrath. Zephaniah tells us that those who are there on this day have "sinned against the Lord" but what does that mean as we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? The sin that is referred to is the rejection of Yeshua Messiah as the Son of God and the Lord of our lives.

Zephaniah 1:18

Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them. On the day of ADONAI's fury, the whole land will be destroyed in the fire of his jealousy. For he will make an end, a horrible end, of all those living in the land."

We see, in this verse, the dark side of love which is jealousy. This is even more relevant today as many people have elevated idols to a place in their lives that is to be reserved for God the Creator. He is patient and so he allows this to continue for a time but the "fire of his jealousy" is building. On this day of judgment, the idols and even their money will not save them.

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