Storm Clouds Are Gathering
Read Zephaniah Chapter 2
Zep 2:1 Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, 2 before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD 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.
When a nation or a people group begins to stray away from God and His word, bad things begin to happen. Our Lord does not bless a nation or an individual who refuses to believe in Him and take heed to His word. There are many examples of that truth throughout the bible. Zephaniah wrote this book as prophesy of the coming destruction of Judah and Jerusalem. It is not only the ungodly who experience difficulty when that happens. Those who are faithful also suffer. There usually is a remnant of people, true believers, in any land or people group which begins to experience the difficulties of God’s retribution. That was true for men and women in Judah who had not abandoned the Lord. Zephaniah’s word to those men and women is clear in these verses.
In verse 3 he called them the “humble of the land.” He wanted them to know about the coming destruction of their circumstances. There were bad times ahead. In order to prepare for those times, Zephaniah gave them instructions which would help them survive. As our nation continues to fall further and further away from God, having no fear or reverence for Him and His word, we can be very sure that His blessings upon our country are going to be slowly withdrawn. I cannot imagine how any believer could argue against that statement. When that happens, Christians who are alive will suffer collateral damage as a result. Just as Christians in other lands are suffering as we speak, because their home country does not follow God, this will surely happen here as well. Zephaniah’s instructions are equally applicable to us today as they were for the people of Judah.
1. Seek the Lord.
I fear that there are many Christians today who are complacent in this matter. Instead of seeking the Lord, many are simply going about their daily routines, going through the motions of life with little regard for the Lord. There is great danger in simply giving only occasional thought to our Lord. He desires, and even demands, that His children should be consistently seeking Him. He should be consulted at every turn in life, living daily under the umbrella of the wisdom of His word.
2. Seek righteousness.
This one has good application to the SSA man and woman. Most of our same-sex sins are committed because we fail to seek righteousness. Our number one goal in life is to obey and worship our Savior. Seeking righteousness in a sincere, steadfast manner will leave us no time for seeking unrighteousness.
3. Seek humility.
Mankind can easily get puffed up over his ability to live life without regard to God and His word. When a man believes, consciously or unconsciously, that he doesn’t need God in order to cope with life and survive its hazards, he has ceased to be humble. Humility comes when we are fully aware that we cannot live any facet of our lives without His divine guidance. We truly cannot cope with this world without Him. Seeking humility will cause us to accept that truth. God’s promise to the believers in Judah isn’t all flowers and blue skies. His promise is that “perhaps you will be sheltered.” As mentioned before, there is always collateral damage in bad times. Those who have been a part in bringing about dire circumstances will not be the only ones who suffer as a result. God’s children are not always immune. When our country begins to feel the effects of God’s judgment, some of us will suffer. Whether we are of the ones who suffer, or of the ones who are spared suffering, all of us must be careful to seek the three things Zechariah mentioned. It will take a lot of self-control, self-discipline, and perseverance for God’s beloved to remain faithful in hard times. We in America today are spoiled rotten. We tend to fall away at the first mention of suffering. We do not know what real trying times are. Christians who are being persecuted around the world know. If we were able to interview them now, we would find that they remain true to God because they have sought God, righteousness, and humility. We must be prepared for any eventuality.
Prayer: Lord, strengthen us for whatever lies ahead in our lives. Whether or not we undergo sufferings similar to the believers in Judah is not the real issue. These things we should be seeking are vitally necessary in any case. Place within our hearts a desire to sincerely seek You, righteousness, and humility. Strengthen us for all the spiritual battles which lie ahead.