Seek the Lord,
All you humble of the earth
Who have carried out His ordinances;
Seek righteousness, seek humility.
Perhaps you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord’s anger.
– Zephaniah 2:3 NASB
Zephaniah is one of the twelve minor prophets of Israel. During the past week, we’ve meditated upon passages from other minor prophets – Haggai, Zechariah, Hosea – which prophesied of the day of the Lord. This “day” is the eternal reign of Messiah as King of all creation. Today’s verse also prophesies of that time. It is, of course, the time in which we live.
Zephaniah is crying out for people to pursue righteousness and humility that they might not incur the Lord’s wrath. Some people have a hard time imagining Jesus judging or being angry, but this should not be hard. Remember how He drove the moneychangers out of the temple? Remember also how much of His teaching was spent in warning His fellow Israelites – including the Pharisees and Sadducees – of the judgments that were coming against Israel because of their sins? And indeed, Jerusalem and its temple were completely destroyed by the conquering Romans within a generation of Jesus’ ministry.
The picture painted by Zephaniah is similar to the picture painted by a New Testament passage we studied last month:
…God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NASB
Another similar picture is found in the 23rd Psalm, which we studied a couple of months ago:
…He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me…
– Psalm 23:3-4 NASB
These pictures reinforce each other and warn us to live lives of repentance from sin so that the judgments from our past sins, and the sins of others, might not consume us. Living on the earth is like walking through a minefield and the way of Jesus offers the hope of safe passage through it.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thank You for living as one of us that you might show us the proper way to conduct ourselves on the earth. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. As I wait upon You, show me the path of righteousness for the day before me…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.