Sunday, May 22, 2016

Zephaniah 3:11-13 -- On Trust and Lies and Making Good Decisions

"In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain.
I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.
The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid."
Zephaniah 3:11-13

These verses are talking about things that will happen at the Second Coming.  What strikes me about these verses today is that it is talking about a remnant, meaning that a lot of the people will be gone... only a part of them left.  And the part that are left are interesting.  It says that they are afflicted, and poor, that they trust the Lord, that they don't do iniquity, that they don't tell lies and aren't deceitful (probably mentioning both because you can lead people astray while carefully choosing which truths to tell).

Now, who knows whether any of us will be here to witness the Second Coming.  That's a total unknown.  But, whether or not we are, by mentioning the qualities of this remnant, I think God is passing on to us the knowledge of some desirable traits to have... ones that might save us from many kinds of destruction, not just the ones at the Second Coming.  Maybe it helps us to know some things to focus on.  Maybe being free from affliction isn't our first priority... or being rich.  Maybe learning to trust God should move up the list.  I also think that our ideas about honesty might need an overhaul.  Our society doesn't really value it, and sometimes that makes it difficult for us to see how important it is.  Maybe working at not being at all deceitful is something we should think about... why that might be important.

Some of these ideas aren't popular... who wants to be afflicted, poor, and scrupulously honest?  It's way easier to live a life that avoids affliction, embraces wealth, and bends the truth a little when it gets in the way. But as Thomas S. Monson asks us, "May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong."  Sometimes choosing affliction over comfort is the right thing to do, if that choice asks us to deny God or do something contrary to his will.  Sometimes choosing to be poorer than we want to be in order to help others is the right thing to do.  And honesty is more important that what we can gain by deceit.  After all, we trust God because he loves us and doesn't lie to us.  Let's honor that by not betraying others.

God promises to help us, forgive us, and not hold our transgressions against us... but our side of the deal is to start doing things his way, and putting him first.  Today, let's work at being those kind of people... avoiding iniquity, and making the world better through good decisions. :)

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