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Chinese11/24/2006English
經文:西番雅書第一章
鑰節:「耶和華的大日臨近……」(1:14)
提要

        本書一開始就篤定地說到,那迫近猶大的審判要帶來全面性的毀滅。他們拒絕上帝的恩典和憐憫,又不斷故意犯罪,不只影響到他們自己,更嚴重影響到整個地上的生物一同遭殃。上帝審判的目的之一,是要清除偶像,因為偶像已成了人民的絆腳石,也是惹上帝忿怒最重大的原因。特別是拜巴力,還牽涉到很多不道德的行為。上帝極端厭惡,故要把一切拜巴力的痕跡,從祂的土地上清除掉。上帝說:任何一人一物若與巴力沾上關係,都要從這塊地上割除--不是毀滅,就是被擄(1:2~4),包括所有拜巴力的人、偶像廟的祭司,和不願單單奉獻給上帝的利未祭司。

        西番雅接著描述猶大拜偶像的類型。有些人「在房頂上敬拜天上萬象」(1:5)--特別是婦女們(參耶44:15~22)。有些人拜上帝,也拜偶像「瑪勒堪」。當發誓時,指著耶和華又指著「瑪勒堪」起誓(1:5)。他們把偶像提昇到上帝的位置,殊不知上帝絕不會與其分享榮耀的(賽42:8;48:11)。祂是聖潔而忌邪的上帝,必要因人的行為而伸張公理的。「瑪勒堪」就是摩洛--亞捫的神祇,猶大人竟把小孩殺了獻祭給它。

        另外有些人,曾一度只事奉上帝,但又背道轉向偶像。聖經曾形容這類的背道,像狗一樣轉回去吃牠吐出來的(1:6;彼後2:21~22)。還有一類的罪,是他們雖願尋求、事奉上帝,卻在靈命上自滿,其實對屬靈的事物很冷漠無心(1:12)。他們和很多今天自信是「好基督徒」的人很相似。實際上他們的生活中沒有上帝,這種態度是貶抑上帝,故也要被列在受審的名單上。

        還有一群要受審的人,是有錢人和上層階級者。他們壓迫人民、顛倒是非,因而有罪了(參彌2:1~2;3:1~4)。西番雅特別提及那些君王的子孫要受刑。至於約西亞一死,上帝的審判就開始臨到他的子孫,連續二十三年,一直到主前五八六年耶路撒冷完全被毀。

        有些猶大人不僅拜偶像,還熱衷於模仿外邦人的服飾等各種生活方式(1:8),因而破壞了摩西所訂穿衣的規矩(參民15:38~40申22:11~12)。他們作上帝的子民,卻不將自己分別為聖歸給上帝。最後的一類人,因生活充滿暴力和欺詐的事,而命定要受罰,他們是「跳過門檻」的人,這可能是指一個人違反拜訪人的習俗,進入人的家去做偷或搶東西的事。

        上帝很清楚地告訴上述這幾類的人,他們絕無法逃避上帝的忿怒(1:12)。有錢人想以賄賂的方式解決問題,當上帝審判時,他們的方法完全無用(1:18)。西番雅用了很多話,去描述那個可怕的日子要對猶大造成的衝擊(1:14~18)。他對上帝的審判所做的描述,預示了末日主耶穌審判全地時的光景。這對我們是多麼嚴重的警戒,為叫我們要向上帝悔改,並專一地事奉祂。

禱告

        主啊!我們知道您是一位忌邪的上帝,求您幫助我們願悔改,轉離惡行,並求您吸引我們更常親近您和您的話。奉主耶穌基督的名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Zephaniah 1
Key Verse:"The great day of the Lord is near... "(Zephaniah 1:14)
Overview

        The book of Zephaniah begins with the harsh words of a certain, thorough, and imminent judgment upon the land of Judah which would bring total destruction. Their spurning of God's grace and mercy and their continuous, willful sinning affected not only themselves but every living thing within the land. Truly all the earth has suffered because of the sin of mankind. One of the Lord's objectives in bringing this judgment upon His people and land was to eradicate idolatry, which had been a "stumbling block" to the people and was one of the foremost causes of His wrath. Specific mention is made of Baal worship, which the Lord especially detested, for it involved many immoral practices. Even the last vestige of Baalism was to be abolished from His land. The Lord declared that everything and everyone connected with idolatry would be cut off from the land by either destruction or captivity (1:2-4); this included all the idol worshippers, the idolatrous priests, and even the Levitical priests whose hearts were not consecrated to God alone.

        Zephaniah continues to describe the specific types of people in Judah who would also meet with destruction. There were those who worshipped "the host of heaven on the housetops", which was a form of idolatry that was practised mostly by women (cf. Jer. 44:15-22). There were those who had mixed the worship of God with the idol worship of Milcom, and when it seemed appropriate they swore oaths either by the Lord or by Milcom (1:5). In such a way, they raised a mere idol up to the level of God, but He will not share His glory (Isa. 42:8; 48:11). He was zealous for His holiness, and He would surely bring vindication. This same Milcom is also known as Molech, an Ammonite deity to whom the people of Judah had sacrificed their children.

        There were others who had at one time served God alone (possibly because of the influence of Hezekiah) but had backslidden, likely returning to idolatry. As is described elsewhere in scripture, such backsliding is as disgusting as a dog returning to his vomit (1:6; 2 Pet. 2:21-22). Another guilty group were those who did not care to seek or serve the Lord but were complacent in their spirituality, being apathetic and indifferent to spiritual things (1:12). They resemble many people today who believe they are "good people", but leave God out of their lives, as though He would make no difference. This attitude demeans and profanes the Lord. Therefore, they too were listed among the offenders and would meet with God's wrath.

        Yet another group destined for punishment were the princes of the land, who were the rich and powerful upper class people (nobility and royalty). They were guilty of oppressing the poor and perverting justice (cf. Mic. 2:1-2; 3:1-4). Zephaniah also makes specific mention of the doom that was to come upon the king's children. At the time of Zephaniah's writing, Josiah was king, but because he had been godly, the Lord told him that during his lifespan destruction would not be brought upon Judah (cf. 2 Chron. 34:26-28). Josiah's sons, however, did not follow in his footsteps; they were all wicked and idolatrous. Therefore, immediately following Josiah's death, the Lord's judgment began to fall upon His children and continued for about 23 years, culminating in the complete destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

        There were also those in Judah who were not only content to worship idols but desired to be like the surrounding heathens in every way, including the wearing of "foreign [heathen] apparel" (1:8). In so doing they violated the Mosaic regulations regarding dress (cf. Num. 15:38-40; Deut. 22:11-12). Such ones did not show themselves to be as God wanted His people — separate and holy unto Him. Another class of people destined for punishment were those filled with violence and deceit. They are called "those who leap over the threshold", possibly an ancient expression for those who did not follow the customary practice of blessing a household before entering; rather, they enter to commit violence or steal.

        The Lord would make sure that these kinds of people listed would not escape His wrath (1:12). Even the wealthy, who were used to bribing their way out of problems, would be helpless when God comes against them (1:18). With many descriptive words, Zephaniah paints a picture of the great and terrible day of the Lord and its dreadful impact on Judah (1:14-18). Zephaniah's description of God's coming judgment foreshadows the final day of the Lord's judgment upon the whole world. What a warning it gives, even for people today, to repent and serve the Lord in total consecration to Him.

Prayer

        Lord, we know You are a jealous God and Your glory You will not share with another. Help us as a nation to repent, turn from our evil ways, and draw close to You and Your Word.


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