Focus on God

Just a few years ago, an angry man ran into a museum
in Amsterdam until he reached Rembrandt's famous
painting "Night Watch." He took out a knife and
slashed it a number of times before he could be
stopped.  A short time later, another troubled man
slipped into St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome and with a
hammer began to smash Michelangelo's sculpture "The
Pieta". Two beautiful works of art were severely
damaged. But officials didn't throw them out and forget
about them. Using the best experts, who worked with
the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to
restore the treasures.                                  

Even when damaged, something that is cherished and
valuable is restored and not discarded. That was the
message that God gave to Israel and to the nations of
the world through the prophet  Zephaniah. In this short
book of three chapters, we read that mankind had
effectively damaged the image of God in himself by
idolatry and selfishness. God declares that he would
judge the wickedness of man with many statements that
begin with “I will”.  Yet that is not the end of the story.
God also declares that he will restore.

Things were bad. People were sacrificing their children
to the Ammonite idol Milcom. The poor were being
suppressed by the wealthy. One would be just in
destroying such people, but God restores.

Zephaniah 2:3 is God's cry to mankind. “Seek the Lord,
all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to
do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet
the Lord will protect you - protect you from his anger on
that day of destruction.”

In Genesis 32, we read that Jacob fought with God.
Instead of just destroying this crook, God left him with a
limp as a reminder, and then he changed him into Israel,
Prince of God.

Yes, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of
God but he does not give up on anyone.  The last three
verses of Zephaniah record God's promise to restore.
No matter how we have marred God's image in us by
sin, he desires to restore us. Praise God!

In his second sermon in Acts, Peter said, “Brethren,
repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away,
in order that times of refreshing may come from the
presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the
Christ appointed for you whom heaven must receive
until the period of restoration of all things”. (Acts 3:19-
21) Peter was speaking to Jews. Even hundreds of
years later, God had not given up on Israel. His mercy
for the rebelliousness is remarkable.

God is not willing that anyone should perish. The
apostle Paul wrote that God “desires all men to be
saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”.
(1 Timothy 2:4)

We were created for
relationship with the creator and
so restoration is not just health or wealth but more
importantly it's the kind of relationship that God had
with mankind in the garden before sin.

You and I may be damaged goods because of sin but
God considers us his masterpieces. He desires to
restore his beauty in us. If we will only humbly bow to
him and repent, he will do amazing things.

His heart of
love calls us to respond to him.
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