The sad, disgusting reality is that most people like cancer. No, not actual physical cancer. But, spiritual cancer, yes. Now you might feel skeptical about this statement. That’s ok. But you can’t argue with the facts, and they are these: If people actually cared about getting rid of their spiritual cancer, they would do something about it. But they don’t. This is what we see with Judah in Zephaniah 3:6–8, and their passivity is a perfect example of our own stance today.
God begs, even pleads with Judah to repent and thus be healed from their cancer. In verse 6, He tells them, “Look at the nations that once were. I laid them to waste. I did that. They were cancerous and I removed them. Now would you see Me as King and obey Me?! That way, I may turn from My wrath and spare you.” It is as bleak a picture as you can get. But sadly, God’s condemnation is ignored by the people of Jerusalem. The destruction that He brought upon the other nations fails to awaken the leaders of Jerusalem, let alone concern them. For instead of heeding God’s warning, the leaders just continue to spread the cancer of their sin and idolatry. This is what we mean by proof that people like cancer. They’re either too lazy, too selfish or too ignorant to change their ways and the result is that this awful, vicious disease continues to spread.
Nevertheless, God steps in. Such a cancer cannot go unpunished. So, after continual begging and pleading, God brings His wrath in verse 8. It is as if God says to them, “You just wait. I am coming in terrible judgment and you will regret everything you have done. For I have made up My mind. I’m going to wipe away all those from across the planet who have rebelled against Me. I will eliminate all the cancer of sin and idolatry.” This is a scary word! Can you feel God’s anger here? Listen to the language – “Pour out My indignation, all My burning anger; for in the fire of My jealousy all the earth shall be consumed.” This is no joke! God will not tolerate sin, idolatry, and injustices forever. This is how severe His hatred of sin is.
So let us ask you: How much do you like cancer? If you are serious about spiritual cancer, if you are serious about the disease of sin, your actions will be the proof. Healing is possible. The fight against sin is possible. Our healing begins with and is rooted in Jesus – “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Because of Jesus’ death, our sins are forgiven and we are healed from sins’ wounds. Moreover, since we are liberated from sin’s power, we can now live to righteousness. We have the power in Jesus to overcome our sinful impulses. Thus, when it comes to the cancer of sin, we must still run away from everything that causes sin to spread. Run away from all that God has forbidden. Remove all idolatry from your midst; remove everything that makes you worship the world more than God – your money, your work, your pleasures, your house, your cars, your fame. Cling to God alone and His Word. And when you fall back into sin, confess your sins and repent. It is only then that you will survive because, otherwise, if left unchecked, this cancer will kill you. Spiritual cancer ends in God’s wrath and in His judgment. So let us ask you again: How much do you like cancer?