The Day of the Lord's Judgment
Good News Translation (GNT)
7 The day is near when the Lord will sit in
judgment; so be silent in his presence.
The Lord is preparing to sacrifice his people
and has invited enemies to plunder Judah.
12 "At that time I will take a lamp and search
Jerusalem. I will punish the people who are
self-satisfied and confident, who say to
themselves, 'The Lord never does anything,
one way or the other.'
13 Their wealth will be looted and their houses
destroyed. They will never live in the houses
they are building or drink wine from the
vineyards they are planting."
14 The great day of the Lord is near - very near
and coming fast! That day will be bitter, for
even (a) the bravest soldiers will cry out in
15 It will be a day of fury, a day of trouble and
distress, a day of ruin and destruction, a day
of darkness and gloom, a black and cloudy
16 a day filled with the sound of war trumpets
and the battle cry of soldiers attacking fortified
cities and high towers.
17 The Lord says, "I will bring such disasters
on the human race that everyone will grope
about like someone blind. They have sinned
against me, and now their blood will be
poured out like water, and their dead bodies
will lie rotting on the ground."
18 On the day when the Lord shows his fury,
not even all their silver and gold will save
them. The whole earth will be destroyed by
the fire of his anger. He will put an end -
a sudden end - to everyone who lives
Zephaniah 1:14 That day - even
Listen! That terrible day is
coming when even
Taken from 'word-on-the-web' supplied by the
Two sides of God
A catastrophic event is coming
and two things are clear:
its total impact
and its inevitability.
Much Old Testament prophecy
works on a conditional basis -
unless there is change
there will be consequences -
but this is different.
Nothing can now avert
the impending disaster.
The little book of Zephaniah
is a reminder to us
that there are two sides to God.
Yes, he is merciful,
and infinitely good.
But he also says 'no'.
Some behaviour just will not do.
All of creation
will be swept away -
and Jerusalem will be destroyed.
How can this be?
although it is not spelt out here,
beyond the devastation lies restoration.
This is purging rather
than a total and final destruction.
Evil must be removed
to prepare for a new
and better future.
The root cause of this
is their worship of other gods.
God's patience is exhausted.
Pagan shrines had existed
in the Jerusalem area
since at least
the time of Solomon,
had taken this to new levels.
The worship of anything
but the Lord was acceptable.
Even as the destruction
hangs over them,
their attitude is one
of careless complacency.
God had no place in their world.
To Zephaniah's readers
God seems powerless.
He is irrelevant
and can do nothing,
either good or bad.
He is a non-god.
And the prophet says
that as far as he himself
his job is to be like a scrutineer,
going round the city
of Jerusalem armed
with a powerful lamp,
shining it into people's
lives and searching out the guilty.
The parallels with
our own situation are evident.
Any god will do,
preferably one of our own making
who does not make demands on us.
We live, at least
in most rich societies,
for our own pleasure,
preparing for a future
that we think is secure.
Recession has undermined
some of the old certainties,
but we still tend to assume
that we are in control,
that we can solve
any crisis from
economic meltdown to
We continue to worship
our modern idols
convinced that God,
if he exists,
will not or
cannot do anything.
So don't hide from him.
God will find you out.
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