Doom, doom, doom. Destruction, Destruction. Is that all these prophets talk about? What’s God so angry about, anyway? How bad can it really be? Prophet after prophet warned Judah about the impending disaster coming from the north. How could God be so angry? Why would He do this to His creation? His chosen people?
This single verse helps answer some of these questions. The reason God is angry is seen in the middle of the verse, “Because they have sinned against the Lord.” To sin against God is to turn our back on Him. Turning our back on our creator is no minor thing. Since He is the One who made us, and He made us for fellowship with Him, only He can comfort us – the opposite of “distress.” And because He is our Creator, only God can give us direction. By turning our back, we walk without Him which is to “walk like the blind.”
Man was formed from the dust. To sin against the giver of life is like saying, ‘Thanks, but I think I’d just rather be dust.’ The blood He provided that gives life is poured out onto the ground to be no better than dust. When we reject His instructions for living (sin), we reject the very life He gave us.
God gives us the freedom to accept or reject Him. However, we cannot choose the consequences. Like the child who does not obey His father’s command to stop, he in essence is rejecting his father’s protection and guidance. And as the squealing tires warn of the impending doom like a prophet’s last-minute sermon, a decision to turn from the father turns into a fatal expedition into the dangerous realm of independence. Such an excursion, even if we survive, will leave us as “dung,” even lower than the dust from which we were formed, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out.
The events described by Zephaniah are literal events that God brought to bear on the people of Judah. Although this devotion has somewhat spiritualized the meaning of these verses, the truths bear on our lives in the same way as the pre-exilic Judeans.
Why should we be surprised when God is angry with sin. Sin is the opposite of God’s creation. It reduces the value of what He once called “very good,” to something of no value – in fact, “dung.”