And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil. – Zephaniah 1.12
One of the greatest dangers for God’s people is something that can seem so minor. What could be so bad if we are not openly in rebellion or is some kind of obvious sin?
Well, there is no doubt that that is bad and not pleasing to God. But just as bad and surely a lot more common is the spirit of complacency that Zephaniah talks about here. This phrase ‘settled on their lees’ is a translated ‘complacency’ in newer translations, but I love this picture. The ‘lees’ were the muck that is left over in a vat of wine after the wine is poured off. It is sticky and icky. The people were stuck in the lees, or as we might say today, stuck in the mud. God was not important to them. They lived in such a way that their lives said ‘as sure, it’s grand, God’s not going to anything about it’
This kind of attitude is dangerous because, unchecked, it will only lead to something worse.
We have just entered a new year. It is always a good time to stop and reflect and examine our lives and our goals and priorities. It might also be a good time to look at our lives and to see if we are ‘settled on our lees’ in complacency. Instead of being stuck in the mud we ought to be striving to ‘press toward the mark’ of the high calling of serving God in this still new year.