Thursday, November 23, 2017

What to do BEFORE it is too late

clock showing almost midnight
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Zephaniah 2:1-15

TO CHEW ON:"Before the decree is issued,
Or the day passes like chaff,
Before the Lord's fierce anger comes upon you
Before the day of the Lord's anger comes upon you!
Seek the Lord all you meek of the earth,
Who have upheld His justice.
Seek righteousness, seek humility,
It may be that you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord's anger." Zephaniah 2:2,3

In the beginning of Zephaniah 2 we have the call to repent, Part II of a prophet's typical message.

Repent means 1] To feel remorse or regret over something you have done or failed to do; 2] To change your mind about a past action; 3] To feel such sorrow for your sins as to reform - Funk & Wagnall's Dictionary.

Though the word "repent" isn't used, the plea to "Seek the Lord" implies the hearer should turn attention from other things they are presently seeking, to seek God.

All the "Before"s in verse 2 insert a sense of urgency. This is not something to leave to whenever—a more convenient time. Do it now, "Before the decree is issued…the day passes like chaff… the day of the Lord's anger (fierce anger) comes upon you."

The attitude needed for this search is meekness. [Meek = a patient, mild, gentle, compliant disposition.] No more bristling at God, talking back to Him, insisting on one's own way.

The return is to God, to justice, to righteousness, to humility so that "it may be that you will be hidden / in the day of the Lord's anger."

As we view our own lives in the light of a still-awaited "Day of the Lord" so many of these things apply to us:
  • Like the people of Judah, we don't know when that Day will come. We still have time to turn "Before the decree is issued…"
  • Like them we too need meekness to admit we were/are wrong. If we've accepted Jesus as Saviour we have taken the first step for sure. But repentance can also involve a multitude of turnings as our lives are regularly checked by Scripture.
  • Our turning to God, to justice, to righteousness, to humility is without glamor and fanfare. There isn't self-exaltation here. The only way such qualities will trend on Twitter is as they disturb society's status quo… which may make them harder and less attractive. But God's judgments, such as those on unrepentant nations, spelled out in the remainder of the chapter, are enough to tip the balance in repentance's favor.

Dear God, please help me to take seriously this warning about the Day of the Lord. Show me where I need to make changes to prepare for it by repenting and seeking the right things. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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