“Neither their silver, nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the Lord. In the fire of his jealousy, all the Earth shall be consumed. For a full and sudden end, he will make of all the inhabitants of the Earth.”
– Zephaniah 1:18
Like It’s hard to imagine a more sobering, humbling verse than Zephaniah 1:18. At the end of a chapter where verse after verse after verse talking about the day of the Lord. Now wherever we see the day of the Lord in scripture, and specifically here in the Old Testament and Old Testament prophets, it’s directly talking about the day of God’s judgment that’s coming upon his people for their sin.
We’ve seen this in different ways, through different profits, with the Northern kingdom of Israel, this is relating to the Southern kingdom of Judah, God warning his people that because of their sin, that he will bring his judgment upon them. And we see these warnings for other nations. This is what we see in Nahum, for example, talking about God’s judgment on the people of Nineveh.
No one can escape the coming judgment of the Lord apart from the grace of God.
And then in a broader way, because we see this all the way through the Bible, all the way to the end in Revelation when we see the day of the Lord as a picture of his ultimate judgment and the Earth. That all of these displays of his judgment at different times in history will one day culminate in the ultimate day of the Lord when all of these things will happen.
And so now listen to these words from Zephaniah 1:18, a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the Earth. There’s coming a day when God will fully and finally judge the Earth and every inhabitant in it. All the inhabitants of the Earth. And on that day, silver or gold will not be able to deliver anyone. Like money can’t save, prosperity in this world can’t save. Nothing in this world will be able to save on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
Zephaniah 1:18 Reminds Us of the Urgency of Spreading the Good News
And we know this, like we who are hearing this, and the Bible we who know God’s word. We know this. God has told us this is coming, which is motivation then for evangelism, for proclamation of good news to people around us. Just think about people in your life and life who we know, who don’t know this, who don’t realize that there’s coming a day of judgment when they will stand before God, and apart from Jesus, will be cast into eternal punishment. Will experience, I mean, there’s so much imagery here in Zephaniah, chapter one that describes God’s wrath and God’s judgment. We know this is coming. So God help us to proclaim the gospel with an urgency today. And help us not to be silent with the gospel. God help us not to be distracted by so many other things.
Prayer To Proclaim
God, I confess my own life and my leadership as a pastor, I get so distracted by so many other things. Then people’s souls for all of eternity and the reality of your coming judgment and the need for your mercy in the gospel. And to proclaim that like loudly and clearly and compassionately and unashamedly God held me to proclaim this.
Not just, I mean, yes, as a pastor, when I preach. But God every day, for each one of us to proclaim your mercy, your grace in light of your coming judgment, every single day. God may this be clear in our mouths, may this be clear in our interactions with people around us. This overflow and the spread of your gospel in places where it’s never, ever been heard, where there’s hardly any Christians. Going to think about the Cyrenaican Arabs in Libya, almost a million and a half of them hardly, any of them have knowledge of the gospel. And even looking at that earlier today, that instability in Libya. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel among the Cyrenaican Arabs of Libya.
Growing In Holiness
God into every people group of the world. They’re not ready for the day when you return. Jesus, they’re not ready. They’ve not trusted you, they’ve not heard the good news of your grace and the gospel. So God we pray that would change. That you would cause your church to take the gospel to them and to every people group in the world and the people right around us.
God help us to live in light of this coming day. Help us to be holy, to grow in holiness just like we see in first and second Peter, in view of you’re coming to live with holiness and to live with urgency, to proclaim the gospel. God, we pray that that kind of holiness and that kind of urgency would mark our lives today. And we pray that you would use us to turn people to your mercy in Jesus today that they might be saved from your wrath on that day. In Jesus’ name. We pray. Amen.