“The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements.” (Zephaniah 1:14-16)
Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of godly King Josiah. The judgments he uttered against the wickedness of Judah were instrumental in effecting the King’s religious reforms. Nevertheless the Lord did not save the Babylonians because the spiritual change in the Jewish people was not long lasting or widespread. Many were guilty of brazen idolatry, many offering their infants and children as sacrifices to the pagan fertility gods Baal and Molech, a great blasphemous insult to the Lord God Almighty.
The greatest sin of the nation, however, was blatant religious hypocrisy. Many of those who worshipped other gods still claimed to be right before Yahweh. They continued to offer sacrifices to Him assuming that these would be enough to keep Him satisfied and ensure His protection. They still engaged in sexual immorality. They also sought their own prosperity to the point where they actively deprived their neighbors and the needy of justice, equity, and mercy.
Consequently, as Zephaniah proclaimed, all these hypocritical people would be swept away as the fires of God’s judgment consumed all the corruption while purifying what remained.
Today we should heed these words of of warning. Evil and wickedness are on the rise. Billions are enslaved to the lies of Satan which pervade our culture through the media and our educational institutions. This would even include even many Christians. And so at such a time as this we who have faith must think about where our trust and loyalties lie. What ideals, things, concepts or lifestyles do we adopt from the culture in which we live? How important are they to us? How does our pursuit of these compare with our desire to exalt, serve, and worship the Lord?
The fires of God’s judgment and the Day of the Lord will sweep through our world as it did the nation of Judah. Many in our world are guilty of infant sacrifice under the guise of abortion as a lifestyle choice. Many more are guilty of grave acts of immorality portraying such as righteous lifestyle choices, yet these too are all repulsive to the Lord. This judgment will sweep through and destroy evil while consigning all who reject Jesus to eternal punishment. We Christians should not be complicit in the sins of the world, but must speak against them. As the Church we must warn sinners of the coming judgment coupled with the message of mercy which God offers to who all those who would trust in Jesus. We must do this now before it is too late for only those who have faith in Jesus can take hope in the sure return of Christ.