DOOM & GLOOM
The LORD says,
“I will utterly consume all things from the face of the land…” (Zeph 1:2)
That’s the second verse, the first verse coming from the mouth of the LORD in this book. What a way to start a sermon!
Perhaps the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah is skipped over by some who would rather not hear its proclamations of judgment: judgment on Judah (Zeph 1); judgment on the Gentile nations (Zeph 2:4-15); judgement on Jerusalem (Zeph 3:1-7); judgment on the nations: “All the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.” (Zeph 3:8). Doom and gloom is decidedly forecast.*
However, while heavy judgment is an obvious theme, Zephaniah holds hidden treasures beyond the reach of the foretold doom and gloom.
These words of the LORD through His prophet Zephaniah actually reveal to us how to be hidden through judgment. Indeed, the very name “Zephaniah” means “the LORD hides”. That’s very comforting in times of disaster. Wouldn’t you be grateful if you were hidden through disasters? Wouldn’t you be shouting praise to the LORD had He by His divine Providence kept you away from the World Trade Center through unusual circumstances as He did for so many on 9-11? And we are probably not even aware of how many times the LORD has spared us from disaster!
But before we go into the “hidden gems” of how to be hidden, let’s talk a little about the forecast of doom and gloom.
TO COME TO REPENTANCE
What is God’s purpose in doom and gloom and judgment? Is He a vindictive, mean deity? Some might say that, but …“Let God be true, and every man a liar”.
“God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
Matthew Henry in his Commentary notes on Zephaniah, “The prophet meant in that terrible description of approaching judgments not to drive the people to despair, but to drive them to God and their duty – not to frighten them out of their wits, but to frighten them out of their sins.”
The world mocks the “doom and gloom” of the Bible. Remember the cartoons of the man with the sign that says. “The end of the world is near”? Preachers who speak of sin, repentance, and judgment are trivialized in the world and in the worldly church. Yet, Peter’s spoke these truthful words regarding repentance:
“‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED….” Now there’s a forthright indictment! “….know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED both Lord and Christ.’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart….” (Acts 2:36-37)
Peter told them to “Repent!”
“And that day about three thousand souls were added” to the Church! (Acts 2:36-37)
Three thousand souls were convicted, repented and brought into the kingdom! We need to start preaching the whole counsel of God! Not just the nice parts. Nowadays some pulpits preach “no hell”. What Bible are they reading? Satan and his minions will be forever doomed to hell at some point. Satan’s rebellious kingdom is evident in the earth today. It is on borrowed time. If you are NOT in God’s Kingdom, you’re going down with the evil kingdom. They are all hell-bound.
I’m so glad that so many are familiar with John 3:16. However, the passage continues. One shouldn’t make doctrine on just a verse pulled out of its context.
“16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:16-19)
“Whoever does not believe is condemned already”. Every human is already condemned until they put their trust in the LORD Jesus Christ! Then the Father transfers us from the “domain of darkness” into the “kingdom of His beloved Son”! (Col 1:13)