Hints of Hope
Father, I lay my life before You. Have Your way in me.
Read Zephaniah 1:14—2:3
14 The great day of the Lord is near—
near and coming quickly.
The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter;
the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
15 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—
16 a day of trumpet and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the corner towers.
17 “I will bring such distress on all people
that they will grope about like those who are blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord.
Their blood will be poured out like dust
and their entrails like dung.
18 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 earth will be consumed,
for he will make a sudden end
of all who live on the earth.
Judah and Jerusalem Judged Along With the Nations
Judah Summoned to Repent
2 Gather together, gather yourselves together,
you shameful nation,
2 before the decree takes effect
and that day passes like windblown chaff,
before the Lord’s fierce anger
comes upon you,
before the day of the Lord’s wrath
comes upon you.
3 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBefore turning to God’s Word today, consciously lay aside anything that might distract you. Write things down if it helps!
This passage is frightening in its hopelessness—there is distress and anguish and a consuming fire. There is a finality about the coming “Day of the Lord” which Zephaniah describes: the world will be consumed and people will meet their end (1:18). Yet our passage ends with a hint of the possibility of salvation. There is hope after all. This hope is for those who seek the Lord in humility and obedience (2:3).
The coming of Jesus means that, incredibly, there is no more “perhaps” (2:3) about our salvation. We can face the Day of the Lord with confidence, knowing that we are clothed in the obedience, righteousness and humility (2:3) of Christ! The hope Zephaniah offers here is uncertain because it is founded on people’s own ability to change and to live righteously. Our hope is absolutely certain because it does not depend on us but rather on the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
Zephaniah’s description of God’s judgment is horrible to read. It serves to underline the greatness of God’s grace to us in Christ. We who have deserved judgment and destruction because of our evil and idolatrous ways can instead look forward to the Day of the Lord with confident hope (Luke 21:27,28).
Are you ready for the “Day of the Lord”? Have you accepted God’s grace in every area of your life as you strive to follow him?
Almighty God, I praise You for what You have done for me in Jesus! Thank You for Your grace instead of the judgment I deserve.