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All the prophets spoke about a remnant among God’s people. They spoke about how, in a time of spiritual decline among God’s people, there would be a few who would remain faithful to God.
The things written in the Old Testament have been written for our instruction (1 Corinthians 10:11). There is a decline among Christians today just like there was a decline in Israel in the past. The two kingdoms – Israel and Judah – are a picture of the two groups in Christendom. Israel, with 10 tribes, symbolises the larger group of mainline denominations. And Judah with 2 tribes, symbolises the smaller non-conformist assemblies. But both these groups are in decline today. In the Old Testament, Judah did not learn from Israel’s mistakes. And the non-conformist groups today have not learnt from the mistakes the mainline denominations have made – and they have made the same mistakes themselves.But ultimately, from both groups, God has chosen a remnant today. There is spiritual decline today – both among the ritualistic groups and among the independent groups. But in the midst of all this, God has a few who have a heart for Him. They are not all found in one denomination. They are found in all the denominations – men and women who love God and are seeking to honour Him in all things. They are genuinely filled with the Holy Spirit and do not get involved in controversies. They are very careful in the use of their tongues and are very faithful with money. God is gathering such people together in these days as His remnant. The theme of the prophets was always restoration. The remnant prepared the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus. When the Lord was born, there was a small remnant – Simeon and Anna in the temple, John the Baptist, the shepherds, and a few wise men from the east. Today also there is a remnant in Christendom who are preparing the way for the coming of the Lord.
„Beg the Lord to save you. All of you who are humble, seek for more humility” (Zeph. 2:3).
What a word – “Seek for more humility”. Zephaniah understood that God blesses the humble. On one side was the pride of Babylon and on the other the humility of the remnant in Jerusalem. From the time of Cain and Abel, there have been two streams in humanity – Babylon and Jerusalem. Babylon is a corrupt, religious system. Jerusalem is the true church of God. This church is characterised not by miracles, signs and wonders, but by humility. They are never tired of seeking for more and more humility.
What then is the danger that faces those who belong to the remnant? It is the danger of comparing themselves with other churches and glorying in being superior. That is exactly how the devil wants you to think, because he knows that the moment you start thinking like that, God will become your enemy, and then you will also become like those whom you despise. You see how quickly the remnant can themselves become a part of Babylon. So pursue humility. Keep your face in the dust always. Never compare yourselves with the other people. Compare yourself only with Jesus. That is my advice to all who belong to the remnant of God’s people today.
Zephaniah prophesied that the Philistine cities would be rooted out and made desolate, but a few survivors (again, a remnant) would be cared for ( Zeph. 2:4, 7). This remnant would be taunted and made fun of by others (Zeph. 2:8). If you stand up for the Lord, like Daniel and his three friends, and like the remnant spoken of by the prophets, you can be sure that many compromising Christians will taunt you. They will tell you, “What a fantastic ministry you could have had, if you had not joined this little group of fanatics.” Many Christians told me that when I gave up my wider ministry and started meeting with just a few people as a church in our home (in 1975). I am thankful that I didn’t listen to any of them. I said to the Lord, “Lord, I don’t care whether I am with only two or three. I want to be where You are and I want to proclaim the whole truth of Your Word. I don’t care for the opinions of backslidden Christianity and their leaders.” If you take a stand like that, you will face a lot of opposition. But you will finish your course with joy, if you endure until the end. Keep your eyes on the Lord. The Lord says, “Don’t worry about your critics. I’ll deal with them in My own time.” Today, my critics are silent. They marvel at what God has done in our midst. If however you can’t stand being taunted, you will give up the battle and join the compromisers.
Notice some characteristics of this remnant
- “I will purify the lips of the people” (Zeph. 3:9).The speech of the remnant will be pure. Isaiah was convicted of his speech when he saw the glory of the Lord. I speak often about our speech and about our attitude to money – because the prophets spoke much about these two subjects. If we are careful with our mouth and our money, we can become the Lord’s spokesmen.
- “All of them will call on the name of the Lord and serve Him shoulder to shoulder
” ( 3:9). The remnant will be united as one body and serve the Lord bearing His burdens – shoulder to shoulder.
- “I will remove all the proud and arrogant people from among you. There will be no pride on my holy mountain. Those who are left will be the lowly and the humble 3:11, 12). The remnant will comprise only of humble people, because the Lord would have removed all the proud ones. That is another question people ask me, “Brother Zac why do you speak so much about humility?” Because that is what the Bible speaks of, from cover to cover.
- “Those who are left will trust in the name of the Lord” (3:12). The remnant will be a people of faith.
- “The people will do no wrong to each other, never telling lies or deceiving one another. They will live peaceful lives ” (3:13). The remnant will be a peaceful people who never tell lies or deceive anyone or harm anyone.
- “Sing,O daughter of Zion; shout aloud! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart! For the LORD Himself will live among you! ( 3:14, 15). The remnant will be a happy people who have found their perfect security in the Lord’s love for them.
- “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” ( 3:17). God rejoices over this remnant. He does not find joy over people who live in sin. Can a father rejoice in a child who has cancer, leprosy and tuberculosis? No. Neither can God find joy in people who live in sin and who don’t want to be healed. But God does find joy in this holy remnant. With great gladness He shouts over them and sings a song over them. This is the one place in Scripture where it says that God sings over His people. There are many places where we are exhorted to sing a song of praise to God. But here it is God Who is singing a song over us. What a challenge it is to be the type of person whom God can rejoice over.
- “He is silently planning for you in love” (3:17 – Paraphrase). The Lord plans for us in love and He has pleasant surprises planned for us in the days to come, because He is our loving Father.
- “I will save the weak and helpless ones. I will give glory and renown to those who were mocked and shamed. I will give you a name of distinction. They will praise you as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes” ( 3:19, 20). The remnant consists of a people who are weak and helpless in themselves. The Lord Himself deals with their enemies and gives His people glory and distinction in the final day.
Copy Right – Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore, India.
This writing may be freely published without changes (http://www.cfcindia.com)