The Day of the Lord

Zephaniah 1:1-2:3

Posted by Nathan Thiry on June 30, 2024
The Day of the Lord
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Main idea: Behold the wrath of the Lord and humbly seek Him.

  1. Behold the wrath of the Lord toward all humanity (1:2-3).
  2. Behold the wrath of the Lord toward wicked Judah (1:4-18).
  3. Seek the Lord with humility! (2:1-3)


  • Seek the Lord! Worship the Lord. Consider Him! Fear Him!
  • Do not take your sin lightly. Do not think it is a small, insignificant thing to reject the Lord.
  • Think of your brothers and sisters in Christ and encourage one another to persevere in light of the coming day of the Lord.
  • As you wonder why the wicked prosper now, remember His wrath is coming.
  • As you see the nations rage, remember His wrath is coming.
  • As you think of all those around you who do not know Christ, remember the wrath of God is coming and they will be swept away. Proclaim the good news of the kingdom of Christ!
  • Automated Transcription
  • 0:13
    Good morning. It's good to see all of you. We had to Brian's Welcome. Welcome to all of you here. Everyone who's always here, we're glad you're here and those who are visiting, it's fun in the summertime, it feels like there's a lot more people visiting, looking for a church to be their home. And so, as Brian said, is encourage you, those of you who are always here as your home church, just to look around for new people. And it's a joy to get to meet new people and get to know them and welcome them in. And now those of you who are new, any of us pastors or elders, we'd love to talk to you have you come in the office and meet you. Go have coffee with you, whatever, we'd love to get to know you better, or grab us anytime we're really happy to to get to know you better. Just add to what Brian said about praying for the Czech team. There are a few people with the last name gardener still here. It seems that in the third row here, like Kevin and Terry are there in the English camp, as are John and Carrie Gardner not related to each other, biologically. But anyway, John and Carrie are related. And Kevin and Terry married anyway. So keep praying for the gardener saw the gardeners over there, and everyone else who's serving. The English camp has a really fun time, lots of English classes and activities, teaching lessons and different things. So pray for them all this week as they're hanging out with people who don't know Christ yet. So this morning, we get to look at Zephaniah Zephaniah, as a prophet. In the Old Testament, we have 12 books we call Minor Prophets. They're not really minor because they're less important. Obviously, it's all God's word as important. They're just shorter than the major ones like Isaiah, which is really long. So if you want to go and start looking at your Bible, for Zephaniah, it might be one of those crispy portions of your Bible. Zephaniah, it's right before before Haggai and after Habakkuk. So if you find Habakkuk you're almost there. If you get to like Micah, Jonah and they home then you keep on going. Alright sin was Neil's we read stuff and I'm gonna read a longer section. So if standing for a long time is hard for you, it's okay if you sit Zephaniah chapter one, verse one through chapter two, verse three. And the context here is up and is speaking to Judah. And the in the time of Josiah. And there's been a lot of idolatry, a lot of ignoring the Lord, a lot of rebelling against the Lord and Zephaniah is bringing a message of wrath, along with the message of grace to the people of Judah and to us as well. So, listening along, Read along with me, the word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushie, Son of God Elia, son of MRI, son of Hezekiah. In the days of Josiah the son of Eman, king of Judah, I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth, declares the Lord, I will sweep away man and beast, I will sweep away the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and the rubble with the wicked, I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth declares the Lord, I will stretch out my hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will cut off from this place the remnant of ball in the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, those who bow down on the roofs, to the hosts of the heavens, those who bow down and swear to the Lord and yet swear by Milcom, those who have turned back from falling the Lord, who did not seek the Lord, or inquire of him, Be silent before the Lord God. For the day of the Lord is near, the Lord has prepared to sacrifice and consecrated his guests. And on the day of the Lord's sacrifice, I will punish the officials and the king sons and all who raised themselves in foreign attire. On that day I will punish everyone who leaves over the threshold, and those who fill their Masters House with violence and fraud. On that day, declares the Lord, a cry will be heard from the fish gate. A whale from the second quarter allowed crashed from the hills will inhabitants of the border for all the traders are no more all the way out silver I cut off. At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and I will punish the men who are complacent. Those who say in their hearts the Lord will not do good normally do ill. They're good shall be plundered, their houses laid wastes. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them. They'll be planted vineyards, they should not drink wine from them. 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 their 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. I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood shall be poured out like dust and their flesh like done neither their silver, nor their gold and shall be able to deliver them on the Day of the Wrath of the Lord and the Fire of his jealousy all the earth shall be consumed for a full and sudden and he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. gathered together. Yes, gather Oh shameless nation, before the decree takes effect before the day passes away like Jeff, 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, are 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. This is the word of the Lord. Let's pray. God, we tremble. Indeed, we're even terrified in awe of your wrath, your anger that is rightly unjustly poured out on all, who rejects you who rebelled against you. God, we worship you not only promised to pour out wrath against all he rejects you, but you promise that all we take refuge in You will certainly be hidden from your wrath. All who trust in Christ, the Lamb of God is taken away the sins of the world will be saved from this very wrath, which has been described as definitely one. So we thank you, that as we read this, all of us in Christ, have great confidence and hope, that there's no condemnation for us because we're in you. The same time God, we desperately need to have a higher view of you, we need to fear you, Lord, the kind of fear that produces reverence and awe and worship and trust, producing us spirit we pray, ah, reverence, love worship for our God as we see. And behold His wrath and His holiness and His grace, kind of thank you that you are a holy God, only a holy God, you are, we tremble before you go, please, Minister. These are my brothers and sisters here, help those who are downtrodden and discouraged to be encouraged by your word, to see that you are working out your plan that you will indeed, deliver those who trust in you, you will indeed bring to an end all sin and all of your enemies. Can I pray that You would give humility and repentance to those who are here pridefully, trusting in themselves, Grant salvation to those who are here facing the day of your math. eminently? God, we pray for churches around our city that your work will be preached and proclaimed faithfully this morning, think especially of fourth Memorial Church and Scotland, L and all the dear brothers and sisters serving there, would you bless them causes your word, your name to be lifted up there that you will be feared and worship there. We pray for them as they seek to plant a church on the South Hill with a guy named Luke and his team. Bless that effort. And I pray that people in the South Hill who don't know you yet would be reached to that church. We pray that on the South Hill in the valley and the West Plains in the north, all around the city of the name of Christ will be lifted up, use us to proclaim you Christ to others and help us right now to worship and know Christ and pray in His name. And then maybe seated.

    My first career before I became a missionary, and a pastor was an elementary school teacher. I grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, went to school there and I got a job teaching third grade class in the inner city. And I lasted one year in that career, not classroom before moving to Spokane to pursue my my vocation here, training and ministry. And during that year, I learned that when you promise the third grader a consequence, and you don't follow through, it doesn't work out very well. I would say oh, if you don't if you don't do this, or if you do that, you're going to have this consequence. And then I wouldn't always follow through. And then as a result, there was chaos in my classroom. I didn't have control. Some of you have been teachers for years and you understand classroom management way better than I did. And the the the Mr. Theory back then my students would tell me Mr. Theory, you got to be more mean to us, be more mean? Because they knew that there was no respect, there was no reverence, there was no fear that everyone did what was right in their own eyes. And it was it got away with it. And so it wasn't good. There was a lot of foolishness. But thankfully, God is not like Mr. Theory. And my third grade classroom in 2001. God always follows through on his promises, both with wrath and with grace, Wrath to the proud, and grace to the humble. We need to fear the Lord. We need to have a high view of God and Zephaniah gives us a gift. He shows us the wrath of God, and the grace of God. When you think about the fear of God, listen to Proverbs 910. It says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. If we do not fear the Lord, we don't have wisdom, we're foolish. We're led astray by our passions and desires, and that we know the fear of the Lord and moves on a continuum, right? It starts over here, like Edwin says, And when people are big, and God a small, starts with with terror, with dread with trembling with astonishment, and it moves to all reverence, devotion, trusts, worship, fear of God is all those things. If you only know of God's holy justice, you're gonna be over here trembling. If you just have Zephaniah chapter one. You're like in terror, terrified, right? But then as you become to understand his holy justice, and his holy love and grace, your moves, to worship the Lord to trust him. And that's my prayer this morning that God would use Zephaniah To give us a gift, and we would fear the Lord, that we would say, Our God is a holy God of wrath, and a God of incredible deep grace and mercy. How often do we in our own lives, take our sin, treat it lightly. It's not a big deal. It's we're not seeing a holy goddess, we're not seeing his righteous wrath towards sin, that He's poured out in Christ so that he will pour out on those who are not in Christ. How often do we not give thanks to God for our salvation, we take it for granted that Jesus has taken our sins, it becomes commonplace to us. A fresh view of God's wrath should move us to be thankful to Christ. How often do we see the evil around us and even our own struggles with sin when we're discouraged? And we think, Oh, what's the hope? What's going to happen? How, how is this ever going to end? But we see in Zephaniah one, God says, I will put an end to it. He will, He will end all enmity to him All sin, all striving against him, God will do it. He says, God will always follow through on his promises. And that's what we see in in all the other prophets. We see that they're saying, here's what God told you. Here's what God told Moses on Mount Sinai. You read Genesis through Deuteronomy. You see, God told them, here's what's going to happen. Then you see in the in the historical books, and Samuel Kings and Chronicles, they didn't do what they're supposed to do. And then you see the prophets, God saying, Yep, that's what's gonna happen to you. Like it just happened because you didn't do it. God said, God is wanting them to know exactly what he's doing. And he wants us to have a high view of him, to fear him, to love Him. And so I'm praying that this morning, as we see Zephaniah, we will be moved to humility. Zephaniah is like a mini revelation. If you read the book of Revelation, at the end of the Bible, you see the God's wrath, displayed and amazing, terrifying proportions, and you see a celebration. And it's spectacular and deep and rich. And you see the same thing as Zephaniah. It's not as long as revelation but you see a couple terrifying glimpses of the holy, just God, that in his anger will pour out wrath on all of his enemies. And you see the grace of God, who sings over and delights over his people and delights to give grace to those who are humble. By the fear of the Lord, we turn away from evil, how are you not gonna be able to turn away from evil and obey God and be wise? How are we gonna love God as He is, we need to fear him. So let's understand what's going on in Zephaniah, and as you read these books, I encourage you, don't let this party revival become a crispy, just like neglected Bible part of your Bible. The whole Bible is given to us for our nourishment for our knowledge of God. And if you take a good study Bible, like a MacArthur Study Bible, or ESV, study Bible or any study Bible, look at the intro to any of these prophets. So as you jump into Jose, Micah, Nahum, Haggai, Habakkuk, any of these books read that little intro? Understand, is he talking to Judah or Israel? Is it before they got taken to exile or after and it'll help you understand to read it. But before we get to know you a little history lesson, so God called Abraham said, I'm gonna make you up people. And so God blessed Abraham promised to bless through him all the families of the earth, all the nations, and then God gives Abraham and Sarah even to the really old, Isaac, and God gives Isaac Jacob and then God gives Jacob 12 Kids, those 12 kids become the 12 tribes of Israel, 12 tribes all together, Israel, they're in Egypt for a while, after 14 years, God rescues them from Egypt. And then they live in the land, eventually they get some kings. David does pretty good. Solomon does okay for a bit. And then he has all these wives and goes after our idols, and God says, I'm going to split the kingdom. I'm going to tear it from you. I'll leave you a little bit, but I'm gonna take most of it from you. So then Solomon, Saudi Arabia, bone, is a foolish man, very foolish, and God takes away the 10 northern tribes. So Judah and Benjamin in the south with Jerusalem, as their capital, remain together with the sons of David, which is right by him and then a bunch of other people after him. That's the southern kingdom, Judah, then the northern kingdom, the 10 tribes are Israel. And so now they're two kingdoms, connected as the people of God but but two different kings, two different kingdoms, the kings of Israel, the northern tribes, there are 19 Kings over 210 years, right boom was starting at 931 and 721. They get carted off to a Syria, taken into exile. Exile is what we say when we're talking about them getting taken away into slavery, taken out of the Promised Land God given them. Those 19 kings are mostly bad. Most of them did a terrible job, falling idols leaving the people of Israel and worshipping idols. And that's what a lot of the prophets are about telling Israel. Look, you're being idol worshipers, you're being foolish. This

    is what's coming, please repent. The kings of Judah did a little bit better, some of them like Hezekiah. And Josiah did a great job. And a lot of them were very idolatrous, like Manasa. So now we've got 721, the Israel the northern kingdom get taken in exile. And now when Zephaniah is writing, it's probably in the 630s. And what has happened is Manasa Hezekiah was really good. He repented, and God delivered Israel, Judah through Hezekiah. And then he has a son named Manasseh Manasseh, unfortunately, rosewood 52 years and he does a really, really bad job. He fills Jerusalem with blood and violence, he leads people in worshipping all kinds of idols. Eventually chronicle says he repents for a little bit than his son emin is even as bad as his dad or maybe worse, and he only lives for two years before his servants kill him. And then Josiah who's eight becomes king. So he's really over Judah as an eight year old. And there's been all this idolatry for 54 years. All these people worshipping idols and being led astray after idolatry. Can you imagine some of your eight years old can imagine being king, eight, nine year old or queen, and you're in charge of the whole kingdom, and you got to know what to do. Now enter Zephaniah, we see and definitely one one, Zephaniah, because he's this great, great, great, great grandson of Hezekiah. We think that's probably King Hezekiah. So he's kind of like a distant cousin of Josiah. We also see that he's the son of Cushie, which was a name that Kush heights were the people of the Eastern Horn of Africa. And so maybe, maybe Stephen has got some African ancestry as well as being in the royal family. But anyways, f&i is in the palace, with his cousin Josiah, probably. And he's prophesying to the nation of Judah at this time, when it's full of idolatry, full of people rebelling against God. And he's telling them, this is what's coming, seek the Lord repent. He's giving them this message, to get their attention. So they'll turn away from God's wrath, and turn to his grace. God is speaking to His people. Because of their idolatry, they needed a word from the Lord. And we have that now we have a word from God in the Bible, we have 66 books full of God's words to us, in this context of him speaking to his people, and so we're gonna look at Zephaniah now for three weeks and see this message of God's wrath and God's grace. And we need to see a high view of God's wrath, we need to see the goddess holy. So look at this dissection and behold the wrath of the Lord and humbly seek him, I pray that you'll see God's wrath and omoove, you just want to seek Him. So looking first at verses, one through three, and we see the wrath of the Lord toward all humanity, the wrath, the anger of God towards all of humanity. Verse one, the word of the Lord came to Zephaniah, God speaks to His people, because he loves them. God speaks to the world to the nations because he wants them to come to Him. And today, God is speaking to you. When you read the Bible, in the morning, or the afternoon or the evening, it's not just to check it off and say, Oh, I read the Bible the day, God wants to speak to you to have a relationship with you through His Word. And that's what's happening here. He's speaking to us through Zephaniah, we've already talked about who Zephaniah is. He's prophesying to Josiah into the kingdom of Judah. And then he says in verse two, I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth, declares the Lord, that were utterly sweep away is that God's going to gather up everything and sweep it away, he's going to make an end of it completely. You ever been playing a board game, like, let's say you're camping, and you're playing a board game of Risk, and you're getting really tired of how it's going, and you grab that you gather together all the pieces, and you throw them in a blazing fire, God is going to sweep away everything from the face of the earth, and he's going to destroy it. It's what he's saying. He's using a very strong language to explain his wrath. What he's going to do, he says, I will sleep away man and beast, birds of the heavens and fish of the sea in the rubble with the wicked guys doing in reverse order, remembering creation, God made the he made the fish of the sea. Then he made the birds of the heavens, and he made the beasts and the creatures that he made men and women. Now he's saying in reverse order, I'm gonna wipe away Adam, and all of his people, I'm going to wipe them away off the Earth, I'm gonna make an end. And end of it. I was at Hoopfest yesterday, and you look around, you see all these people having a great time. Look around the Earth, people are getting married, people are having parties, people are having jobs, they're building houses, God is gonna make an end, he's gonna wipe it off. He's gonna say enough. And he's gonna wipe off the earth with His wrath. That is what God is promising to do. He's going to sweep it away, says I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth. Just as God cut off mankind, because he was grieved by their sin at the time of Noah, God will again, wipe away the Earth, the rubble with the wicked. The Cyber cars, the massive houses, the cool smartphones, all the amazing foods, the technology, everything that mankind has developed and established, it'll become Rubble, it will be destroyed by God's wrath, all the things that humanity has worshipped. All the really beautiful people and athletic people and popular people and powerful people, all that destroyed. God will pour out His wrath on all the earth, total destruction, we know that it won't come by flood will come by fire. Listen to Second Peter 310 313. We see how God will do this. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. And the heavens will pass away with a roar and heavenly byes we burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done, it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people aren't you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved in the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn. But according to his promise, we are waiting for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. God will wipe out the earth with fire. It will just like when you have a forest and a huge fire goes through. And then the new life comes, God is going to destroy the Earth. He's going to wipe it out with fire, and he's going to make a new heavens and a new earth, where God will live with his people forever. Now, the story is not all bleak. He doesn't given the exception clauses here, but we see in the rest of Zephaniah that there is hope for the humble. There's hope for those who take refuge in Christ. In fact Zephaniah's name means the Lord is hidden. God will hide those who trust in Christ and they won't be wiped out. So God is planning a wonderful thing for the people who trust in Him. But for all those who are rebelling against Him, wrath is coming. Listen to what Jesus says about his wrath and Matthew 2541. That's coming. It came in 586 for Judah, came in 721 for Israel, and it's coming one day for us. If we're not in Christ's God's wrath is coming, he will make an end ultimately, of the Earth. This earth it says in Matthew 2541, then he will say to those on his left, those who have not trusted in Christ, Depart from me, you cursed it into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And these will then be Matthew 2546. He says these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life, eternal punishment, eternal fire. Matthew, Revelation 20, verse 15, says, if anyone's name was not founded in the book of life, he was thrown in the lake of fire, to hold the wrath of God to towards the Earth and tremble, be terrified. If you're trusting in yourself. If you're trusting in people around you, or your riches, or your accomplishments, or your good deeds or your religiosity, you should be terrified. God has every tool at his disposal to pour out His wrath and destroy the earth. He has fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, pandemics, plagues, famines, wars, by the Word of the Lord, he's able to wipe out all who don't trust in Him. Kids is you don't get a free pass. There's an age where you become accountable and God knows exactly what that is. But God's wrath is coming. Have you considered him? Have you considered that wrath is coming? God is good and His anger and his wrath. He's not unjust. He's just He gives these person what they deserve. If you take a tree, and you cut it, and you throw it in the concrete, what's gonna happen to that tree? Is it gonna keep growing? No, it's gonna die. If you take an astronaut out of the ship, no spacesuit no oxygen, throw them out into outer space, what happens? Right, he's gonna die. She's gonna die. There's not they're not going to live. If you take a human being made in the image of God to be in relationship with God, and they reject God and say, No, I'm going to do things myself, I'm rejecting you, God, I don't need you. I'm gonna be proud, they will die. There are two choices, life with God, or death apart from him. He's not being mean or unfair. He's simply telling them as things are the way things are. He's a good God and he will not allow rebellion against Him to ruin his good earthen is good kingdom and his people forever, he will put an end to it. Second point we see the wrath of the Lord, not only towards the whole of humanity, but towards Judah.

    So I encourage you, if you are not trusting in Jesus, God's wrath is coming. Trust in Jesus. And we're going to see in more detail what God's wrath is like as it's coming towards Judah. verses four through 18. We see God's wrath towards Judah described. You see here first, in verse four, he says, I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Remember the southern kingdom, Judah and Benjamin with Jerusalem as the capital. God is saying, I'm going to stretch out my hand just like He stretched out his hand against Egypt. When Israel was enslaved there, he stretched out his hand with frogs and fire. Well, it was fire frogs and locust and gnats, and flies and hail, and the firstborn children dying. He's gonna stretch out his hand against Jerusalem and Judah, this is terrifying. You do not want the Lord to stretch out his hand of judgment against you. God is stretching out his hand, his judgment is coming in. Why is he doing this? Well, he's promised them if you turn back to Deuteronomy 28. He's promised them that this would happen. He said, If you choose life, if you choose to obey me, and trust in me and fear Me, you will live. But if you choose to go after your idols and rebel, you're going to have death. Look at Deuteronomy 28, verse 58, you can look out look and read along or listen, Deuteronomy 2858. God is talking to the Israelites through Moses, he's telling Moses to tell them this at Mount Sinai, when he made the Covenant, the relationship with them says, if you're not careful to do all the words of this law that written this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, then the Lord will bring you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, affliction, severe and lasting, and sickness grievous lasting, and he will bring upon you again, all the diseases of Egypt, of which you are afraid, and they shall cling to you, every sickness, also every affliction that is not recorded in the Book of this law, below, it will bring upon you until you are destroyed. Whereas you are as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God. And as the Lord took delight in doing your good and multiplying you, so the Lord would take delight in bringing you ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you're entering to take possession of it. You see how holy God is. He promises His people that if they reject Him, if they rebel against him, if they stop having faith, if they don't have, hey, they're going to be destroyed. They're going to be facing all these curses, and this is what he's describing. And he's not like, you know, you have maybe a parent or a teacher or a boss who says, You're in so much trouble, but they don't tell you what you did. Like what did I do? What's wrong? God tells Judah throughout the night exactly why he's judging them. And this should be A warning to anyone who's hearing it to flee from these things to repent of them. He says in verse four, I will cut off from this place, the remnant of ball. Whatever's left of ball worship ball was one of the Canaanite gods that they worshipped. They believe that he was the god of fertility in the family and productivity in the field. And they believe that ball was worship was was moved to bless the land by immoral behavior, they would practice and morality in order to get ball to bless them. And that was happening all throughout Judah and Israel. Manasa and Eamon, and many other kings, were leading them in ball worship. And so God is telling them, I'm going to I'm going to judge and I'm going to remove and cut off from this place, everything that's left the ball, there will be nothing left, cut off, thrown out. In the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, God is going to judge the priests of foreign gods along with the priests, the true priest of the Levites. Because both of them are leading them in idolatry, worship, God is going to judge them, he's going to cut them off and throw them out. They said, He's going to judge those who bow down on the roofs to the host of heaven. They're worshipping astral deities, that the Canaanites and their Syrians were going up on the roof and bowing down to the stars and worshiping those things that God had created instead of worshipping the true God. God, just saying, I'm not going to tolerate that anymore. I'm going to destroy those who are doing that. And then he says, Those who are syncretistic are at the end of verse five, those who bow down and swear to the Lord. So they're pledging allegiance to God, and also swearing by Milcom. No calm was a god of the Ammonites. I know that sometimes he was called Molek. He was a pagan god. So there's worshipping Gods expressing allegiance to God to Yahweh, the God of Israel. And at the same time, we're shipping this, this false god, no calm. And God said, I'm not going to tolerate that. You heard what Jacob was describing in his testimony, right, that that kind of duplicitous Life Where I'm saying, I'm a Christian, but I'm also doing this other stuff over here. And all of us have been guilty of that, right. And it's easy now even as a Christian following Christ to have kind of two things going on in my heart in my life. It's what the psalmist prays, God Unite my heart, help me to together with one heart worship you, God wants our whole heart, because that's what's good for us. That's what he wants. If you're married, or if you understand marriage, you understand like, it's two people committed to each other for life, right? It's not a it's not a, it's not, oh, you're married, but then I have this other person over here. Also, that's not okay. And God's not okay with that with his people. He doesn't want to have them and they also have their idols that they're worshipping. He wants to have a relationship with them that is dedicated, and, and protected. Then he says in verse six, those who have turned back from falling, Lord, some people were following your way, and it stopped in turn back, he's gonna judge them. You're saved by faith in Christ, right? It's only through faith. But anyone who's truly saved, God is going to keep them just like we sang about, he's going to keep you He will keep you. How does he keep you? Christ keeps you right? He keeps you through these warnings, even he keeps you through fearing the Lord, he keeps you. He keeps your heart believing in Him. And if you stop and reject Him, Hebrews makes it clear. You're waiting certain judgment. We can't reject the Lord and expect that some decision we made before that we're not continuing in is good enough to save us. It's not some magic words, you say that save you. It's faith in Christ, God is not going to be fooled. If it's sincere, saving faith will continue. And then there's wasn't continuing. And then finally said, Those who did not seek the Lord or inquire of him, they may have said that they worship God, but they were they weren't. They weren't worshiping Him. They were acting like God didn't exist. Maybe you and I do believe in Christ, and we are following him. But how many times can we sometimes act like God's not there, and we just kind of act like my day is going on? I'm doing what I'm doing. I'm not really thinking about the Lord. So it's easy for us to fall into some of these things. Jeremiah 211, through 13 sums up well but Judah was doing and why God is judging them. Listen to Jeremiah two. He says, The prophet Jeremiah says, has the nation changed his gods even though there are no gods? We might be able to change their glory for that which does not prophet be appalled. Oh, heavens, at this be shocked. be utterly desolate declares the Lord. For my people who have committed two evils. They have forsaken me the fountain of living water, in a huge out systems for themselves broken systems that can hold no water. That's what proud people do, right, Jeremiah saying, they've rejected the founder living water. Imagine you're in the desert, and you're so thirsty. You've been walking for days, and you're about to die of dehydration. Your body can only last like three days without water, right? They can, they can last very long you need water. And there's a fountain of living water is so pure and perfect. No contaminants. It's amazing. And it's blowing, bubbling over. And over here is a container in the ground. They call it a cistern and that system was broken. What happens if you're in the desert with a broken bottle or container and you pour water in it?

    It's gone. It's like that little lizard on that funny cartoon, right? It's it's just no water is gone. It's totally gone. That's what they were doing. They had the found the building water, the living God, Yahweh, the God of Israel, and they're saying no, no, thanks. I'm gonna go over here. They have steak over here. They're going to rock poison. They're rejecting the final building water and going to a broken, empty container. That's what they're doing. So then you can't say well, well, God I'm dying over here. It's your fault. I'm over here dying. No, you rejected the fountain wielding water and you're dying because you didn't drink any water. Like the guy in the top of the house in the boat comes to rescue him in the airplane and helicopter like Godwin's Rescue me, I sent all those things, but you don't want to get in. God is telling them, you've turned away from me. You're proud. You've rejected me. And so that is why they're being threatened. I promise this judgment. And all of us to like sheep have gone astray. Each of us are guilty of this, we need to turn to our own way. We've all fallen short of the glory of God, we've all missed the mark of loving God loving our neighbor. So we deserve this too, right? So if we're sitting here any of us can say, if it weren't for Christ's mercy in my life, how would be facing the same thing? I encourage you, friend, if you're sitting here and you haven't trusted in Christ, you're facing the wrath of God coming on you. Will you turn to Christ and repent and trust in Him? Here's the only way that you will be saved. He is the only Savior. Now look at the description of God's wrath in verse seven. See, as God continues to warn Judah about the wrath coming, he says in verse seven, be silent before the Lord God, be silent. Cover your mouth. If you ever been confronting someone and they're just making excuses and talking but but and but but but that's just be silent. When God is judging, when God's gonna really put out his wrath, he's saying Everyone be quiet. It's not time now for you to make your justification, your defense, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Putin, Netanyahu doesn't matter how big of a person you are. Everyone's going to be even in silent before God on their faces. God is judging. God is the highest authority, he's on his throne, and no one else is above him. No one else has his equal, hushed awe in the presence of God. Like Romans 319, every mouth is stopped. No excuses. We are before the Lord and He is King and judge and he says, Be silent. Why does he say Be silent? For the day of the Lord is near what is the day of the Lord? The Lord is what the people of God understood as the day when God was going to save His people. And also the day when he was going to judge his enemies. It's a day of covenant. establishment and enforcement God is doing what he promised to do. It is the day when God is going to fulfill his promises. And so there's a there's a time of the day of the Lord for Judah, there was a time for Israel, there's an ultimate day of the Lord for all of us. Right? Revelation describes that when Jesus comes back on his white horse, when God judges the whole earth, that's the ultimate day of the Lord. Its salvation for God's people for the humble, and judgment for the the enemies of God, the proud, the day of the Lord is near, it's coming. For Judah, it was almost there. And you and I can't say, Well, I'm only 20. I've got a lot of years left, right, I'm good. I'm only 30. I've got a lot of time. I'm only seven. I've got time. We don't know, the day when you're face to face with God, and he's gonna judge you and see really where your trust was who you are. It could be this morning, this afternoon. It could be now we don't know when Christ is coming back. We don't know when each of us will come to our own end of this life. And so the Lord is near for them. It's coming. And they said, The Lord is prepared to sacrifice this is terrifying. Why does God have sacrifices? They sacrifice things so that God's wrath, his righteous assessment of anger and judgment could happen could be poured out on something. Now who deserved the wrath, that little lamb the little he deserved? Or does she deserve the wrath of the judgment know that lamb hadn't committed some sin? It was the person sacrificing the Lamb who had committed the sin. God gave them away to have his wrath, his punishment that they deserved, poured out. And it was on that land. And we know ultimately, Jesus is the Lamb, it takes the wrath of God. But here God is saying, This is the day of the Lord sacrificing, the Lord is prepared to sacrifice and who is the sacrifice, it's not a lamb. It's Jerusalem and Judah, God is going to destroy them. He's going to pour out His wrath on them because they've rejected him. And now he's giving them the just the justice that they deserve. And so this is a terrifying thing. He's consecrated his guests he's got, whether those are the birds of the heavens or the nations that are there. He has his people there with them who witnessed the sacrifice. God is judging his people, and they are going to receive the full brunt of His wrath, his judgment on them. Now some of them maybe did have faith and they were going to be swept away and discipline and God wasn't ultimately giving them His wrath, but they were receiving discipline because of what they had done, because of all the sins of the people. This is a terrifying thing. And look at look at who God is going to punish. On this day of his sacrifice. The officials and the king sons remember Manasa and then the Kings court people who are leading everyone in worship of false gods God is going to judge them, they're going to be destroyed. He says, Those that dressed in foreign attire, and I'm not saying it's bad to wear clothes from another country. I think most of us do wear clothes from different countries. Unless you shop somewhere you can buy some of them in the USA we're making we're always talking about they're wearing a foreign attire, show that they had some allegiance to the customs and gods of the religions of other nations. It was them showing their, their their betrayal of Yahweh of the Lord and they're, they're worshipping other gods, they're also leaping over thresholds. You know, that whole thing like if you step on a crack, you break your mother's back, leaving over the threshold was was a superstition that the Philistines had because of some fear of D minutes is like leaving over the threshold to keep the demon from getting you I don't understand it exactly. But by leaping over thresholds, they were betraying that they did not trust in God, they were trusting in these other things to save them whether you know, wearing your talisman or doing your special thing to not get the Bad Voodoo or Mojo. It's, they were trusting in something else. They weren't worshipping a loving God. And so then God turns to what he's going to do. He says, on the day of the word sacrifice, you see over and over in these verses on that day, on that day, on that day of the Lord, He is going to pour out His judgment on that and what's going to happen, he says in verse 10, a cry will be I'm sorry, before that, verse nine, They filled their Masters House with violence and fraud, God is judging them. For all the violence never Manasa filled Jerusalem with blood of innocent people. These officials and leaders were killing people who didn't deserve that kind of judgment. They were being unjust, and wicked and corrupt. God is going to judge them. Then you see in verse 10, on that day when God judges Jerusalem, a cry we heard from the fishcake what is the fish gate, it's the northern gate that Manasseh had built, and if anyone was going to attack Jerusalem that came from the north. And so for some reason, the lay of the land there, the North was the way to come. So when you hear a cry from the fish gate, ah, right, it means that they're broken through the enemy, in this case, in fit 586 is gonna be the Babylonians broke through that fish gate. And they're coming in, there's a cry that's heard a whale from the second quarter, what's the second quarter, it's the area right inside the fish gate north of the temple. So the the enemy is coming into the city to destroy them, and it's God's judgment on them. And there's going to be a crash from the hills, the hills around Jerusalem, the hills, there in the city, there's gonna be a crash that's heard from them as people fall as the city falls. And he says Wailoa inhabitants of the mortar and mortar is probably like a hollow since like the low hiding places in the high places, all of it. God's judgments coming on the whole city, all the people there he's judging. And then he says, there'll be no more traders. There's not going to be anybody doing business. When the whole city is getting destroyed. No one's like, here, I'll sell you this bread for five cents now. Run, you're gonna die run. But as you run, look what he says in verse 12. At that time, I will search Jerusalem with lamps and I will punish the men who are complacent. God will search with lamps. If God searches for you, can you hide? Can you play hide and seek with God, and you actually win and he doesn't find you know, God is judging them in these foreign armies coming into the city, you're gonna find everyone. And when you see in Revelation, when God talks about the final day of the Lord judgment, people say to the rocks, Hide, hide us from the wrath of God, hide us, but there's no place to hide. You can't go to some far craggy mountain rockers deep in some ocean or some Valley somewhere and get away from God. He sees everything everywhere. So he's saying he's coming. The wrath of God, the judgment of God is coming for them. Who is he punishing? The men who are complacent. They say God's not going to do anything good or anything bad. I call it God's God's nothing. We can have that attitude sometimes. Right? When we pray, we think Well, God's not going to do anything. I'll say this prayer because it's what we do. But we're not actually expecting God to do anything. Sometimes we can have that complacent, apathetic attitude towards God can literally complacent means It means gooey, gelatinous ball of spoiled wine. So in the wine bottle, if you get like a bunch of bacteria in the bottom, it creates this gelatinous ball of nastiness. That's what they're like, good for nothing. It was just disgusting this right? You're just trying to get that out of there, throw it away. You're not going to want to drink that or you thought. It's terrible, sluggish goo. They're being like sluggish goo. They're being foolish. They're not treating God as God deserves to be treated. And so what's going to happen? God says their goods will be plundered, their houses laid waste, nothing that they've done will stand it's all going to be torn down. And listen, listen to verse 14. The Great Day of the Lord is near and hastening fast, it's near. It's coming. It's like a bullet coming out of a 45 cold. If a bullets coming out of a 45 cold and you're in the way, you're gonna get hit, right, it's too fast. You can't move. You're not the flash or some Superman thing, like it's gonna hit you. If a train is coming in, you're stuck on the track. The day the Lord is coming. It's like a train on the track. It's like a tsunami. 100 foot wave coming and you're on the beach. I got this. You don't got it. That's God's wrath coming on all those who have rebelled against him. Don't think you can escape it. He says in verse 14, it's like a mighty man crying aloud. It doesn't matter how strong you are. The mighty man says

    you can't save himself. He can't save you. Nobody can save themselves. Only Christ can save you on that day. Verse 15, a day of wrath is that day it's listen to the verse 15 It's it's a terrible day. anguish, devastation, gloom, destruction of the most fortified and lofty battlements. Were 17 God is bringing distress on mankind. So the walk like the blind if a bomb goes off, if you were living in England or in World War Two, and bombs are going off, you would you'd be like blinded when that when the bomb hits close to you and the shock of it. It's like you can't your senses are all disoriented. They're like walking like the blind, devastated because they've sinned against the Lord. Our sin is ultimately against God and it will be judged unless Christ has taken it. Their blood poured out like dust their flesh like don't how valuable is Dustin done Unless you're doing some kind of compost like, I don't know, some kind of thing with the soil, they usually don't know something you don't really want, right? It's, it's to be thrown out. That's what their lives are like they're being destroyed. Their silver their gold can deliver them from the Day of the Wrath of Lord, nothing can save them from the fire of His jealousy, the earth will be consumed. God deserves our love and our affection, our worship, and if we reject Him, and don't give that to him, what we deserve and what we will receive is God's wrath. He will make a full incident and of all the inhabitants of the earth as like Jonathan Edwards said, and sinners and hands and angry god, you're like a spider, dangling by a thin web over a terrifying flame. Very precious little separating you from the wrath of God. If you haven't trusted in Christ, I plead with you look to Christ. You cannot save yourself. Only Christ can save you from that wrath. But there's hope, right? That's why we have chapter two verses one through three. Look at that. Now seek the Lord with humility. Seek the Lord with humility. He says to the nation gathered together Yes, gathered together a shameless nation, not just one of you repenting and one of you over here repenting, get together and all of you as a nation repent, seek the Lord and Zephaniah preach this message and Josiah heard it. And when Josiah was 16, he started seeking the Lord, he repented. He repented of idolatry repented of the sins of His Dad and Grandpa, what about you? Have you repented? Have you started seeking the Lord, seek the Lord, while there's still time. That's what he says in verse two before the decree takes effect, before the day passes away like chaff. 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, don't just seek to escape the wrath of God seek him. He's good. He's a holy God. He's righteous. He always does what he says. But he's also merciful and kind. So I said, Seek Me, He wants us to come to him. That's the whole reason for his wrath being poured out right as they rejected him. He wants them to come to him. He wants us to seek him and come to him. Who is it a constructive Lord? Are you humble? The land you do is just commands. We can't seek the Lord saying, Look at what I've done, God, I'm a great person. I've done all these good deeds. I'm really righteous, I'm, I'm good. You don't see God are you see God humbly, humbling yourself saying, God, I need you have mercy on me a sinner. As you humble yourself before God, you can seek Him. And you have this disposition that says, I want to do your commands. I want to obey you not to earn your love and favor but because I know you are king. You are Lord, I submit to you. I laid on my pride. I laid on my foolishness and I want to give my life to you. That's what God's telling them to do. Seek the Lord. Seek righteousness. How is he righteousness? We've just been studying Romans, right, Romans 117, God has made it clear that righteousness is by faith. You seek righteousness by having faith Romans 324, who is justified, those who believe in Christ are justified as a gift from God by faith in Christ. Seek righteousness by seeking Christ, put your faith in Christ. If you're sitting here, and you've trusted in Christ, you can be confident on that day of the Lord. When the wrath of God comes, you are going to be saved because you're in the rock that is Christ. He's your rock, he's your refuge, your fortress, his righteousness makes you righteous. His humility becomes your humility. And if you're not in Christ, you're like the person standing there facing the tsunami. And you're not gonna get it you're gonna you're gonna get plastered. God is going to save all who seek the Lord to seek Christ to trust in him. That's why Hebrew says, Johnny with a true heart we can draw nearer to God we, Hebrews 416, we can come to the throne with confidence, if we trusted in Christ. Number No, in the flood. Everyone in the boat with Noah was saved from the wrath of God. Everyone not on the boat drowned in the flood. Everyone who seeks righteousness and six immunity by seeking the Lord by seeking Christ. What did Jesus say, seek and you will find, if you seek Christ, you will find him. What good news for us. We know Christ, right? We can seek Him and find Him. We can be in Christ and know Him and love Him to be loved by Him. And that's what Zephaniah celebrates in chapter three, you can seek the Lord and know him. He says at the end of verse three, perhaps you may be hidden from the day of anger of the Lord. Right? Why does he say perhaps he's talking to Jerusalem and Judah, some of these people in Jerusalem and Judah who repented. Maybe they lived past when Josiah die, Josiah led Jerusalem and faithfulness for 31 years. Some of them may have been alive in 586, maybe they might have gotten taken off in exile, they might have gotten killed. And that was a God ultimately given them His wrath that was just them being affected by the consequences of the center of the nation. So perhaps they will be hidden in the day of God's anger. But you don't have to say perhaps, if you trusted in Christ, it's not perhaps I'll be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger. You might get swept, you might get sick and die. We will all die eventually, as Christ comes back first. You might get killed in the war. There's all kinds of ways that the chaos of the world might affect us but you will be in Christ and we with Christ forever your hidden in him. He is your hiding place. Definitely means the Lord has hidden the Lord hides us. You can take refuge In Christ and be confident that God will be your Savior. Or you can stand pride proudly and say, No, I'm gonna do this myself. And you will face the wrath that's described here. Those are the two choices we have. And so I encourage you, trust in Christ, seek Him seek to love him and know him. And when your view of God gets low, and your fear of God is starting to wane, you need some more fear of God in the tank. Look at God's wrath, look at his holiness, and worship Him and serve Him. Let's pray. God, we thank You for Your Holy Word that tells us of your wrath, your justice. God, we tremble before you know that we deserve that wrath of Jesus, we thank you that you took the full weight of that wrath on the cross, you died in our place. You died and rose again, showing that the Father had accepted the payment that you made. We thank you that we can be hidden in you Christ. Help us to fear you, to tremble to seek to live holy lives because you are a holy God and your craft shows how you feel about all that sin. Help us to flee from it and put it to death. Help us to trust in you and to seek you, to know you and to love you, man.

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Nathan Thiry

Nathan Thiry is the Growth Groups & Outreach Pastor at Faith Bible Church. He enjoys biking and outdoor activities, and has a passion to see the gospel spread throughout our community and the whole world!

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