I am thankful we live in the Day of God’s Grace! Ephesians 3:2 uses the best expression: “If ye have heard of THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD which is given me to you-ward.”
Not the Day of God’s Wrath! As in Revelation 6:17, the tribulation: “For THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Zephaniah, for nearly a whole chapter, has been describing the fierce Anger of God.
Today’s Text included: “And I (the Lord) will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, BECAUSE THEY HAVE SINNED AGAINST THE LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” Zephaniah 1:17-18, the chapter’s last two verses.
The verb “to bring distress” (in Hebrew “tzsarar”) hints at some extremely “tight” places, no room to move, maybe even the loss of freedom! And “walking like blind men” surely indicates instability, people halting and staggering and about to fall!
God induced discomfort … due to unconfessed and unforsaken sin!
But things get worse, immediately. Bloodshed, death, wasted lives! (Because the Jews were under enemy attack! From the Babylonians historically and the Antichrist prophetically.)
And “bribery” won’t work this time. Yes, previously Israel had “bought” the favors of her enemies. By paying taxes or tribute, “money for peace!” Look how this fact is worded: “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath!”
The noun for “wrath” is again “ebrah,” a veritable “outpouring” of Holy Anger!
What aspect of God’s Character (His “Essence”) is demanding such punishment?
His “jealousy!” Zephaniah minces no words: “The whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His Jealousy.” Holy, sinless jealousy, I might add.
A noun (“quinah”) meaning “zeal, ardor, passion,” the Lord God Almighty always having demanded total allegiance. Exodus 20:3 … “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”
The expression “speedy riddance” is “bahal kalah” in Hebrew, a rather “quick termination” of these rebels! Of the land’s inhabitants.
Yes folks, God’s GRACE has reigned now for nearly two thousand years.
But, when it comes, God’s WRATH will linger for quite some time as well. (But even, with our great God, in Wrath … there is some Grace! “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.” Jesus in Matthew 24:22)
The Lord willing, more Monday morning. When we begin Zephaniah chapter two.
— Dr. Mike Bagwell