Daily Readings and Thought for December 16th. “BEFORE THERE COMES UPON YOU THE BURNING ANGER OF THE LORD”
Yesterday in reading the chapter in Peter we could have noted that Peter also wrote, “you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets …” [v.2]. Now we are currently reading the short prophecy of Zephaniah. His message starts “The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah …” It is God revealing the future to him – and through him to us.
His first chapter is about “the great day of the LORD” [v.14] and of course a day of God’s judgements was soon to come on Jerusalem in the next generation or two – but this prophecy, while including predictions about that tragedy, so much deserved because of their spiritual failures, goes on to look beyond this to an ultimate day when, says God, “I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD … In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed” [v.18].
This reminds us that Peter wrote that the “heavens and the earth which now exist are stored up for fire” [3 v.7]. Now “fire” is used as a means of getting rid of that which is bad, a cleansing, leading to renewal. We know how the bushfires in this country lead to a cleansing and renewal of growth. In today’s chapter God in Zephaniah has a powerful message for us. “Before the decree takes effect (today, here and now) before there comes upon you the burning anger of the LORD. Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden in the day of the anger of the LORD.” [2 v.2,3]
To that message we can add what John writes in our New Testament reading, “all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” [1 John 2 v.16,17]