The prophecy of Zephaniah places a challenge before us as we wait and long for the DAY OF THE LORD. He talks about the dark day of the Lord. It is even more interesting as he prophesied during the reign of Josiah, after the 55 year reign of evil Manasseh and the two year reign of Amon. Some may have wondered why God would send another prophet to announce severe judgment of the Lord in spite of the revival and reformation process that had been initiated under the reign of Josiah. It is indeed a hard message to anounce that God will sweep away everything from the face of the earth. In verse 4 Zephaniah zeroes in on Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Although revival and reformation had started, there were still remnants of Baal worship among God’s people and especially among the priests. Zephaniah accuses his people of uniting different forms of religion and even turning back from following the Lord.
Maybe it is time for us to reflect on the status of our own revival and reformation. Could it be that we have started well but somehow have fallen back into old habits or still stick to habits or behaviors that we know are not in line with the will of God? Therefore God invites us to seek the Lord and to inquire of Him. Although Zephaniah calls the people to be silent before the Sovereign Lord, the silence is not the kind of silence that would indicate the opening of the heart and mind to the voice of God, but is because of the expectation of the DAY OF THE LORD.
In the presence of a leadership being focused on outward display and a people focused on doing their own business, God through Zephaniah announces that He has already called the Babylonians to come and has invited them to be His guests at the sacrifice He has prepared. Can we imagine what this must have meant to God who had put so much energy and effort into His people.
The prophet tries to open the eyes of his people to the reality of the imminent day of the Lord. But it seems that nobody wants to listen. The answers of the people may seem familiar to us The Lord will do nothing either good or bad. They want to convince themselves that there is no need to change, so what else could God do to convince His people to repent? The prophet knows about the vanity of their behavior. He uses strong language to get their attention.
What language does God need to use in order to get our attention? Maybe we need to reflect today on our personal revival and reformation and ask God’s spirit to show us the areas in our life where we need a change, and invite Him to work that change in us!
Norbert Zens, Treasurer