He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.Jim Elliot (missionary to Ecuador)
Zephaniah is a book of warning and encouragement. For the enemies of God, the prophet warns that the Day of the LORD’s wrath is fast approaching…they won’t go unpunished for their sin. What have they done to earn the LORD’s wrath? They swear by His name and the names of idols, they worship idols and refuse to seek Him, and they are filled with violence and deceit. Worse yet! They are complacent in their sin thinking God will do nothing either good or bad in response!
“The great day of the LORD is near- near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers. I will bring distress on the people and they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like filth. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.”Zephaniah 1:14-18
There is still time! That is why Zephaniah is warning us now! He explains to the nations how they can be saved from the coming destruction. They are to humble themselves, seek the LORD, and do what He commands. This isn’t easy! You don’t just wake up one day righteous and humble…you must actively seek these things!
Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.Zephaniah 2:3
The reward for turning back to God wholeheartedly, seeking humility and righteousness, and obeying His commands isn’t simply that we will be saved from the destruction! God also promises that He will take away the punishment we justly deserve. He will remove the reproach of the law and its burden from us! He will turn back our enemies and He will deal with all who oppress us. He will be with us, mighty to save, delighting in us, loving us, and rejoicing over us. He will bring us home at last!
“Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” The sorrows for the appointed feasts I will remove from you; they are a burden and a reproach to you. At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the LORD.Zephaniah 3:14-20
Are you looking forward to the Day of the LORD?