The danger of complacency


JP: From our (Kathee and my) Bible reading this week:

And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
And punish the men
Who are settled in complacency,
Who say in their heart,

The LORD will not do good,
Nor will He do evil
.’ (Zephaniah 1:12)

Question: What sin is in view here?
Answer: “settled in complacency”

From the notes of the ESV Study Bible:

The complacent are those who “are thickening on their dregs” (esv footnote) like undisturbed wine that collects useless sediment. These lethargic people will not rouse themselves enough to save themselves. Since God has not yet judged their sin, perhaps they assume that he never will, not realizing that judgment can come any day (cf. James 5:1–9; 2 Pet. 3:3–4). The Lord will not do good, nor . . . ill is an expectation of the apathetic Judeans. Not denying the existence of God, they deny rather his ongoing activity in either blessing or punishing. This negates a core element of biblical theology: God is constantly active in history.

Comment: I see two points of application here:

  1. For the unsaved: the danger of a complacency about the judgment of God. A delaying of repentance and faith towards Christ at the message of the Gospel
  2. For believers: the danger of faithlessness (spiritual lethargy) towards serving the Lord, denying that God is active in history.
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