The Day of the Lord
Zephaniah 1:6-7 “….those who turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him. Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near….”
Zephaniah is a prophet of the Lord who was called to serve his people in a most difficult time during the reign of King Josiah. Zephaniah prophesied to a people who would be devastated by the Babylonian Army with towns destroyed including the capital city of Jerusalem and many of their inhabitants deported into captivity in less than 50 years. It is clear as we read Zephaniah that he had a daunting task from the Lord that required his total commitment and perseverance through great discouragement. Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah the prophet and both lived in Jerusalem during their prophetic ministries in a failed attempt to bring the people to repentance before their God and the great Day of the Lord which I believe to be the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Babylonian army in 586 BC. It is clear from our reading of the early verses of chapter 1 that God’s people had lost their way and were steeped in rebellion against God. They served Baal, bowed down and worshiped the heavenly skies, and swore by Molech a deity so evil that the people even sacrificed their children to him. It is clear that God’s people had turned their backs on Him and slipped to new depths of depravity and idolatry. How did God’s people go so far off track particularly at a time King Josiah was trying to spiritually reform Jewish society? Our devotional text offers the explanation that each one of us must take to heart to avoid the pitfalls of pride and rebellion that ultimately resulted in the devastation of God’s people. Zephaniah makes it clear as to why the Jews failed to heed his call to repentance: they turned their back on following the Lord. When a person turns their back they are deliberately heading in the wrong direction regardless of the consequences. This is exactly what the Jews of Jerusalem were doing during this period. This active rebellion and turning their backs on the Lord manifest itself in three characteristics common to all sinners:
(1) They didn’t seek the Lord. The things of the Lord were neither a priority nor an important consideration for the Jews of the day. In their pride and arrogance they had no time for God or his messengers like Zephaniah.
(2) They didn’t pray to the Lord and ask him for his guidance and direction. God’s involvement in their lives was fully rejected as silliness and beneath them. How sad it is that the Jews preferred to inquire on roof tops looking at stars than listen to the Lord Almighty.
(3) They weren’t silent before the SOVEREIGN Lord. The Jewish people had great disrespect for God in that they didn’t reverence him as demonstrated that they were unwilling to be silent before him that they might listen to him.
God is Sovereign which means God is in control and in our pride and arrogance to reject God’s first place in our lives is to live dangerously in this world. Zephaniah shouted to God’s people that the day of the Lord is near but no one would listen and heed the prophet’s pleas. We will never listen to God if we don’t reverence Him, we will never seek Him if we don’t honor him, and we will never pray to Him if we don’t think he has the power to hear and act on our behalf!
TODAY FATHER I CHOOSE TO SEEK YOU FIRST AND INQUIRE OF YOU AS TO WHERE MY STEPS SHOULD GO AS I PREPARE FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD. AMEN!
Guest posting by Mike White @ Summit church of Christ