If you received a reliable word that Jesus would return within the year, would it change your life’s agenda? What about your attitude toward your family, co-workers, neighbors, and the world?
Through God’s Word, Christians have credible evidence that Christ will come back, just as He promised. The problem is that we don’t know when. For every day He doesn’t come, we tend to grow weary in the watching, dulled by the day’s trivial demands. Life itself becomes the distraction from the hope that lies ahead.
The people of Judah could relate. Their spiritual senses had dulled under the influence of surrounding pagan nations. Though they had heard the stories about God and their forefathers, the miraculous events of the exodus and conquest in Canaan, they had abandoned His worship for false gods they could see and thought they could control. Generations had come and gone without any visible backlash for their idolatry, so they falsely concluded that all must be well.
But God raised up Zephaniah to warn them otherwise. Days would not continue to unfold as they always had. Enemy nations were plotting their demise. God in His judgment over Judah’s sin had ordained it. It was only a matter of time, Zephaniah warned. Our people’s only hope lies in repentance and returning to the One true God, he urged, time and again.
Since Zephaniah lived at the same time that Josiah rose as king, it’s possible that his warnings worked—for awhile. As a true worshipper of God, Josiah listened to the truth and led the nation to follow suit, destroying the idols that so offended God. And for a time, Judah enjoyed God’s blessing. But when the good leadership left, the people rebelled again and Zephaniah’s warnings turned to reality. Hostile nations conquered and exiled them, and they finally knew: Sin mattered. And its consequences created more pain than they ever thought possible.
But God’s grace was also greater than their wildest dreams. Despite their disobedience, God stayed faithful. Zephaniah encouraged the downtrodden with hope in the One God promised would save His people from their consuming sin. Better still, His second coming would end all evil and draw His people to Himself in perfect, eternal union.
Zephaniah reminds us: Sin matters to God. It’s why He sent His Son to die. But our hope lies in Jesus’ provision. He makes our hearts white as snow and prepares our souls for eternal life at His side.