I Will Punish Those Who Are Complacent

At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, “The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad” (Zephaniah 1:12 NIV).

After having said that the day of the Lord is near, the prophet talks about people who are complacent and what God plans to do to them. Complacency comes from a feeling of satisfaction. Complacent people do not look for change. But they are settled where they are. That is why the image of “wine left on its dregs” is used here. Dregs refer to the last drops of any liquid which gets mixed up with some of its solid particles and settles at the end of the cup. It is useless; but it remains so and sometimes stains the cup in which it is found too. Many Christians are like this. Because of their complacency, they become useless.

Many things contribute to their complacency. For example, if they had gathered much wealth they then think they have no need of God. And slowly God is forgotten. Again, they will look at the warnings given by God and see that He is not taking any immediate action. Then they think that God will not do anything bad to them. So they reason that He is neither going to do any good even if they obeyed Him. So they continue to neglect God and remain complacent.

But God is watching. Not only that, He is going to search for such people with lamps. See, when someone searches for something with a lamp, that means that he is intently searching for it and will not stop until he finds what he is looking for (read Luke 15:8). So also God will not stop searching until He spots out the people who are complacent.

As you look at the Risen Jesus’ message to the Churches, you find a special word of warning to the complacent Church at Laodicea. This warning seems to have foreseen the times the Church is passing through today. The people in her are neither hot nor cold; but lukewarm. These people had high opinion about themselves; but Jesus pointed out their utter nothingness. And the warning is that Jesus will spit such people out of His mouth. The prophet Zephaniah too paints a picture where the complacent will not escape but will certainly be punished.

You too can take warning from it; repent of your complacency and be saved!