Commentary: Zephaniah1-3. The days of Zephaniah were during the time of religious, political and social imbalance in the land of Judah. The major theme in his message to the people was “The Day of The Lord” Prophet Zephaniah gave a perfect definition of that day which sent his reforming message deeper into the hearers.
Zephaniah 1:15-16 “That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.”
The covenant relationship with God never exempted them from His judgment because their unfaithfulness called for it. Zephaniah’s message was a call for repentance; whoever repents and walks righteously and in humility will be hidden from the judgment to come. However, whoever walks wickedly will have a taste of God’s anger. The truth is that if God releases His anger, where can a man run to? Here is the Psalmist experience;
Psalms 139:7-10 “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”
We may have that covenant relationship with God, our faithfulness is what makes us enjoy the benefits and grace attached to it; this is what we call real-time relationship and it is what God desires from us. In case this relationship flaws, Zephaniah suggested repentance, Zeph2:1-2.
Zephaniah 2:1-3 “Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.”
We may not understand this repentance. Repentance is not just confession with the mouth but a thing that is reflected in our attitude and way of life. Zephaniah mentioned three things in his suggestion that must be the pursuit of a genuinely repentant heart;
- Seek the Lord: this is a show of your Love for Him in appreciation of His graciousness. It is a show of your love for Him; you want to be in His presence above all other things. Matt6:33
- Seek righteousness: this is making sure His will is done.
- Seek humility: this is total reliance on God’s grace, i.e. not being boastful of your input or ability but just grace. John15:5 says “without me ye can do nothing” When you get to this point you become a servant who waits on God with fear to hear His instructions. You don’t attribute any achievement to yourself but to the Giver of life, Jesus.
- Soberness: this is feeling ashamed of your past deeds. You realize your filthiness and demand for cleansing. No pride is attached to your past sinful acts.
In 2Chron7:14, we notice also that God demanded humility from us as part of repentance.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
This means that repentance must be accompanied with some evidences which we call virtues; righteousness, faith in God, humility, honesty and truth. John the Baptist called these virtues FRUITS OF REPENTANCE just as we have fruit of the Spirit from those who have Him.
Luke 3:8 “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say to you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.”
John the Baptist made them to know that the covenant relationship established through Abraham is not a platform for unfaithfulness but exhibiting the virtues of repentance.
Prophet Zephaniah further made it known to them that if anyone has these virtues, such would be saved from the wrath to come and, of course, will enjoy a promissory splendor as relayed in chapter 3.
Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
God is mercy and gracious to those who are meek. May His grace hide calamity from us in the name of Jesus. May the Lord hide pride from us also in the name of Jesus Christ.
Let us seek for the old path where we could find rest. Let us listen to the trumpet’s sound, wherewith we could escape the calamity to come. Our reading for today is the book of Malachi. Keep the fire of burning and alive.
Pastor Supo Abayode
Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries