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Personal Responsibility

Today's Devotional

Read: Zephaniah 3:1-8 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 7–9; Acts 18

They were still eager to act corruptly in all they did. Zephaniah 3:7

My friend’s eyes revealed what I was feeling—fear! We two teens had behaved poorly and were now cowering before the camp director. The man, who knew our dads well, shared lovingly but pointedly that our fathers would be greatly disappointed. We wanted to crawl under the table—feeling the weight of personal responsibility for our offense.

God gave Zephaniah a message for the people of Judah that contained potent words about personal responsibility for sin (Zephaniah 1:1, 6–7). After describing the judgments He would bring against Judah’s foes (ch. 2), He turned His eyes on His guilty, squirming people (ch. 3). “What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem,” God proclaimed (3:1 nlt). “They [are] still eager to act corruptly” (v. 7).

He’d seen the cold hearts of His people—their spiritual apathy, social injustice, and ugly greed—and He was bringing loving discipline. And it didn’t matter if the individuals were “leaders,” “judges,” “prophets”(vv. 3–4 nlt)—everyone was guilty before Him.

The apostle Paul wrote the following to believers in Jesus who persisted in sin, “You are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. . . . [God] will judge everyone according to what they have done” (Romans 2:5–6 nlt). So, in Jesus’ power, let’s live in a way that honors our holy, loving Father and leads to no remorse.

Why should you take personal responsibility for your sin? How do your wrong choices bring shame to God?

Heavenly Father, please help me pursue good choices for You.

For further study, read Feeling the Weight of Sin.


Though the prophet Zephaniah (1:1) is rather obscure, there’s no mystery about the message he was commissioned to deliver—it was one of judgment for God’s people (1:4–2:3; 3:1–7) and the surrounding nations (2:4–15). The phrase the day of the Lord is found here more than in any other book in the Old Testament. The term refers to ongoing periodic judgments when God called peoples and nations to account for their attitudes and actions which opposed His, as well as the time of future judgment when Christ returns. Zephaniah 1:15–16 summarizes this time of reckoning with these words: wrath, distress, anguish, trouble, ruin, darkness, gloom, clouds, blackness, a day of trumpet, and battle cry.

By |2023-07-13T02:33:35-04:00July 13th, 2023|
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