There are ominous warnings in Zephaniah today. They are a challenge for us to make sure we are on the Lord’s side – now! Hopefully all those who know their Bibles are in the process of doing this. How awesome is this message, “before there comes upon you the burning anger of the LORD, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the LORD. Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD” (2:2,3).

“The humble of the land” – the word ‘land’ (Hebrew, eretz could equally be translated as ‘earth’ as in the AV). The second and third chapters of this prophecy should be read in sequence, for while the rest of chapter 2 describes God’s judgements on the surrounding nations “because they taunted and boasted against the people of the LORD of hosts. The LORD will be awesome against them” (verses 10,11), chapter 3 says God’s “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” (verse 8).

At the same time God tells His own nation, they “shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD, those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid” (verses 11-13).

The next verses tells us, “Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil” (verses 14,15). Jesus is king! Are we on the brink of these events? We cannot say for certain, but the world scene is increasingly ominous. A fitting conclusion to our thoughts is 1 John 2:28, our third reading today; “… abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming”. Let us “seek the LORD, so that we may “have confidence”.