Do you ever wonder why God warned people about imminent events? He sent prophets to His people time and again, sometimes they listened and sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes as in the case of Jonah and Nineveh, the people listened and heeded the message. (Jonah 3:6-10). But more often they did not pay attention to The Word of God. But the Lord is Just and He always makes a way for salvation.
Zephaniah was a prophet to Judah and Jerusalem during the days of King Josiah. He had a royal lineage, his great great grandfather was King Hezekiah. (Verse 1). In this chapter God warned Judah and Jerusalem about the upcoming Chaldean invasion. King Josiah was a good King who sought the Lord and who made sweeping changes to rid the nation of Idolatry. (2 Kings 22-23). Perhaps he listened to Zephaniah. We know he listened to other prophets. (2 Kings 22:14).
Verses 2-6 read,
“I will utterly sweep away everything
from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
3 “I will sweep away man and beast;
I will sweep away the birds of the heavens
and the fish of the sea,
and the rubble with the wicked.
I will cut off mankind
from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
4 “I will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal
and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests,
5 those who bow down on the roofs
to the host of the heavens,
those who bow down and swear to the Lord
and yet swear by Milcom,
6 those who have turned back from following the Lord,
who do not seek the Lord or inquire of him.”
Josiah’s father was Amon, he was a very wicked king like his father Manasseh who brought lots of idol worship and evil to Judah and Jerusalem. (2 Kings 21:19-26). The Lord is a Jealous God. (Exodus 34:14). He wants nothing else between us and Him. He wants our entre heart, not the small part remnant that isn’t taken up with the flesh. Deuteronomy 6:5 reads,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
When Jesus quoted this scripture, He took it one step further. Luke 10:27 says,
“And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus added that we are to love the Lord with our minds as well as our heart, soul, and strength. Our minds can get so busy, so cluttered with to-do lists, entertainment, and work. Those things, even seemingly good things can take God’s place in our minds, hearts, service, and spirit. Ask yourself, are you so busy doing God’s work that you are putting that ministry above The Lord? Are we heeding the Truth of the Word of God? Are we listening, trusting, and obeying Him? Is our disregard for The Lord’s message causing us to be disciplined?
The Day of the Lord is near. He is coming. His judgement is perfect. He has warned us. Are we heeding the warning? Verses 7-9 read,
“Be silent before the Lord God!
For the day of the Lord is near;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice
and consecrated his guests.
8 And on the day of the Lord's sacrifice--
“I will punish the officials and the king's sons
and all who array themselves in foreign attire.
9 On that day I will punish
everyone who leaps over the threshold,
and those who fill their master's house
with violence and fraud.”
Many who claim to be Christians, do not actually worship The Lord God Almighty. They worship a god they created, who has an outlook similar to their own. He is not named Jealous, or Lord of Hosts, or Justice. He is love, but not Agape. He is requires no repentance. And he lets them do anything they please or he requires strict adherence to rules. But whoever it is they worship, it is not The One True and Living God. They jumped the threshold and think they have entered the church but they have only entered the building. They’ve tried to steal salvation when Jesus already paid for it and is giving it away. They will be sadly shocked when The Day of Lord arrives. They will cry out “Lord, Lord! Wasn’t I a good Christian? Look at all the work I did for you!” but God knows they do not submit to Him. He knows they are idolaters. He’ll reply, “Go away, your work was for evil, I never had a friendship with you.” (Matthew 7:22-23).
Verses 14-16 read,
“The great day of the Lord is near,
near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
the mighty man cries aloud there.
15 A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the lofty battlements.”
To the lost, The Day will come suddenly and swiftly. To the saved who have paid attention to the warnings and signs, it will come exactly on time. We do not know the day or hour but we now the season. We know the signs. We have time to prepare. We have time to warn people and give them a chance to repent and call on Jesus as Lord and Savior. Matthew 24:36-44 reads,
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Nothing and no one can save except Jesus Christ, The Lord of lords and King of kings. All the money in the world won’t do anyone any good on The Day of the Lord. It won’t matter if you’ve memorized the entre Bible if you do not take it to heart. It won’t matter how strong you are or who the president is. You can look everywhere for salvation, but you will only find Him in Jesus. Verses 17-18 read,
“I will bring distress on mankind,
so that they shall walk like the blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
and their flesh like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
shall be able to deliver them
on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
all the earth shall be consumed;
for a full and sudden end
he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.”
Don’t waste your life worrying about your money, your goodness, your strength, or your pleasure. Spend your time investing in eternity. Be concerned with The Kingdom of Heaven, God’s wealth, Jesus’ righteousness, The Lord’s power, and His joy. In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus said it this way,
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
A few verses further He told us we didn’t have to worry about all the earthly stuff. Matthew 6:32-34 reads,
“For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”