God as the source of hope – Day 8

A beacon of hope

The book of Zephaniah has only three chapters. The central theme is the Day of Judgement when the fire of God’s wrath will burn up a creation gone wrong (Zephaniah 1:1-2; 3:8).

Zephaniah condemns Israel’s injustice and religious unfaithfulness. He lists four sins of his people: idolatry (1:4-5), indifference and unbelief towards God (1:6), adoption of foreign customs (1:8) and unethical actions of violence and fraud (1:9).

Zephaniah is uncompromising in warning that on the Day of Judgment those who no longer believe that God matters in their world, together with foreign nations who share their beliefs, will be destroyed.

He warns them that it will be a day of fear, a universal catastrophe in which the whole earth will be consumed (1:18).

Then Zephaniah offers a beacon of hope: 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” (2:3).

He calls on his people to seek the mercy of God by holding an assembly of fasting and repentance to show their humility, obedience and trust in the Lord. Zephaniah’s pleas are rejected (3:2).

The Day of Judgement is inevitable and inescapable.

How wonderful and reassuring then are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ to all who follow him: “ ‘Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man” (John 5:24-27).

What a wonderful Saviour we serve, our shining beacon of hope.