Zephaniah: The Day of the Lord Part 2 God’s Judgment on All Nations
One of the most sobering pictures we can get from Zephaniah is just how profoundly similar Judah was to what we see in today’s nations, including our own. If this doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will…
In Zephaniah 1:11-13, we see how Judah has left God for worldly goods: Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar! For all the traders are no more; all who weigh out silver are cut off. At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.’ Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.” God sees idolatry and evil in every nation and He will not allow it.
In Zephaniah 1:18, we see the root of their idolatry, not very different from the idolatry we see today: “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”
In 2:12-15, we see God’s abhorrence of those who would bully and destroy as the Assyrians did so often to other nations: “And he will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert. Herds shall lie down in her midst, all kinds of beasts; even the owl and the hedgehog shall lodge in her capitals; a voice shall hoot in the window; devastation will be on the threshold; for her cedar work will be laid bare. This is the exultant city that lived securely, that said in her heart, “I am, and there is no one else.” What a desolation she has become, a lair for wild beasts! Everyone who passes by her hisses and shakes his fist.” This kind of evil in our own country is far more subversive than how the Assyrians manifested their cruelty. Theirs was through military might while we see bullying and evil coming from “social change” in our nation. We are given a view of post-apocalyptic Assyria in this passage, empty and completely destroyed. The once wealthy and self-involved, almost solipsistic city will become nothing.
In 3:1-5, listen and think about who this reminds you of: “Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord; she does not draw near to her God. Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning. Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy; they do violence to the law. The Lord within her is righteous; he does no injustice; every morning he shows forth his justice; each dawn he does not fail; but the unjust knows no shame.” People who will not listen to wisdom and reason will not endure. See what happens in vss 6-8…
I have cut off nations;
their battlements are in ruins;
I have laid waste their streets
so that no one walks in them;
their cities have been made desolate,
without a man, without an inhabitant.
I said, ‘Surely you will fear me;
you will accept correction.
Then your dwelling would not be cut off
according to all that I have appointed against you.’
But all the more they were eager
to make all their deeds corrupt.
“Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord,
“for the day when I rise up to seize the prey.
For my decision is to gather nations,
to assemble kingdoms,
to pour out upon them my indignation,
all my burning anger;
for in the fire of my jealousy
all the earth shall be consumed.