Witness Him Now
The LORD has been speaking so loud and clear to me the last month or two. As I read His word, I see Him coming to do one of two things in our lives. He is coming to send judgment on His church, and He is coming to bless His remnant. I tremble at what I read, it is scary, but Micah 2:7 says, "If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting." So I am going to share what the LORD is about to do. God is talking to the church, to His people. He is warning us, and He is giving us promises. May we all have eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to understand what He is saying so that we can turn in our hearts and live. May we all find comfort in what we hear.
First, I am going to tell you what is going to happen to the church, to a people who draw near to God with their mouths and honor Him with their lips, but their heart is far from Him. Through the prophet Zephaniah, God says, "I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth, I will sweep away people and animals alike." (1:2-3) "I will crush Judah and Jerusalem (that's us) with My fist and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship. I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests, so that even the memory of them will disappear. And I will destroy those who used to worship Me, but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the LORD's guidance or seek My blessings." (1:4,6) Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign LORD, for the awesome day of the LORD's judgment is near. The LORD has prepared His people for a great slaughter and has chosen their executioners. "On that day of judgment," says the LORD, "I will punish the leaders and princes of Judah and all those following pagan customs." (1:7-8)
God's not playing. He is a jealous God, and He will have no other gods before Him. He says, "My people have set up idols in their hearts and set before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity." (Ezekiel 14:3) We have all done it. We have looked at things or people or a job or power or prestige or money - and the list could go on forever, but we are looking at things that we want more than we want God. That is called idol worship. God won't have it, and He is coming to judge us for this great sin against Him. And if that is not enough, through Zephaniah God adds, "I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem's darkest corners to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. They think the LORD will do nothing to them, either good or bad, so their property will be plundered, their homes will be ransacked. They will build new homes but never live in them. They will plant vineyards but never drink wine from them." (1:12-13) We think God doesn't see and that God won't do anything, but we are so wrong.
And now God is reaching out to us saying, "Gather together - yes, gather together, you shameless nation. Gather together before judgment begins, before your time to repent is blown away like chaff. Act now, before the fierce fury of the LORD falls and the terrible day of the LORD's anger begins. Seek the LORD, all who are humble, and follow His commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the LORD will protect you - protect you from His anger on that day of destruction." (Zephaniah 2:1-3)
There is a call to repentance. God is asking us to humbly come to Him right now, without excuse, and say, "I am guilty. Please forgive me. I am sorry!" This can't be lip service. It has to be from the heart. We have to truly be sorry for what we have done because this is what God says He will do if we are not. "What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime! No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction. It does not trust in the LORD or draw near to its God. Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims. Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey. Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain. Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God's instructions. But the LORD is still there in the city, and He does no wrong. Day by day He hands down justice, and He does not fail. But the wicked know no shame." (Zephaniah 3:1-5)
The LORD is still in the city. He is still in our heart, and day by day He hands down justice. It has already started. Look at your life. Look at the hardships. God is doing it. "I have wiped out many nations, devastating their fortress walls and towers. Their streets are now deserted, their cities lie in silent ruin. There are no survivors - none at all. I thought, "Surely they will have reverence for Me now! Surely they will listen to My warnings. Then I won't have to strike again, destroying their homes." "But no, they get up early to continue their evil deeds." "Therefore, be patient," says the LORD. "Soon I will stand and accuse these evil nations. For I have decided to gather the kingdoms of the earth and pour out My fiercest anger and fury on them. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of My jealousy." (Zephaniah 3:6-8)
I can't tell you how many times I hear people talk about how hard life is getting. For many, it is unbearable. God is trying to get our attention. We have to listen. God will not be mocked. He is coming back for a bride that is holy, one without spot or wrinkle. We are not there yet, but we can be. It is as simple as facing Jesus with our hearts wide open and saying, "Jesus, I need You. Please come and rescue me." And He will because it is written, "Everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD will be saved." (Joel 2:32) If you do that, listen to what God is going to do for you.
"Then I will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone can worship the LORD together. On that day you will no longer need to be ashamed, for you will no longer be rebels against Me. I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you. There will be no more haughtiness on My holy mountain. Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel (that's us) will do no wrong; they will never tell lies or deceive one another. They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid." (Zephaniah 3:9-13)
Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! For the LORD will remove His hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the LORD Himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster. On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, "Cheer up, Zion! Don't be afraid! For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs." (Zephaniah 3:14-17) Wow! The LORD Himself will live among us, and He will take away all of our fears. He will rejoice over us and dance and sing. Does that blow you away? The God of the Universe wants to do that for us - remove judgment - slaughter our enemies - and with His love, calm all of our fears.
All that we have lost, all that has been stolen, all that we have given away, He wants to restore. He says, "I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to My former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed. On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
Sorrow and mourning and shame are not our portion. Worry and fear are not our portion either. Righteousness, peace and joy are our inheritance. Goodness and mercy belong to us. Love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control is the good land that we will possess. This is our inheritance, and God is going to make sure we get there. "Then another message came to me from the LORD of Heaven's Armies. This is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: My love for Mount Zion, is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem! (That's us!) And now the LORD says: I am returning to Mount Zion and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, the mountain of the LORD of Heaven's Armies will be called the Holy Mountain." (Zechariah 8:1-3)
The LORD is coming to make us, His people, faithful and holy. His unfailing love will accomplish that. So what is the LORD about to do? He is about to shake the heavens and the earth and all of creation will know that there is a God in heaven who does what He says He is going to do. Let our hearts tremble at His word. Let wisdom and understanding enter, because iff we don't listen, we will be swept away with everything else that is wicked.
The scripture says, "May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."