Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC 

Zephaniah 1:14-18
The great day of the Lord is near,
    near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the mighty man cries aloud there.
A day of wrath is that day,
    a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
    a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
    and against the lofty battlements.
I will bring distress on mankind,
    so that they shall walk like the blind,
    because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
    and their flesh like dung.
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.

The Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard, once told a parable of a theater where a variety show is proceeding. Each show is more fantastic than the last, and is applauded by the audience. Suddenly the Master of Ceremonies comes forward. He apologizes for the interruption, but the theater is on fire, and he urgently demands that everyone leave in an orderly fashion. The audience who has been lulled to sleep by the entertainment just thinks this is the most amusing turn of the evening, and cheer thunderously. The MC again implores them to leave the burning building, and he is again met with loud applause. At last there is nothing more he can do, and the fire raced through the whole building scattering the crowd screaming and running toward the door. “And so,” concluded Kierkegaard, “will our age, I sometimes think, go down in fiery destruction to the applause of a crowded house of cheering spectators.” 

I wonder if this isn’t a proper representation of our society today. We live in the most entertained generation ever in the history of mankind. We have an entire world of entertainment and pleasures at our fingertips through smart phones, tablets, laptops, and television. We have little need for God because of all the technology and ingenuity. Yet, Jesus is coming again and will bring judgment upon those who have denied His gracious salvation. 

Zephaniah is a small book just 3 chapters long and he himself a little known prophet; yet, this book boasts of the most significant event outside the resurrection of Christ known to mankind. More than any other book in the Old Testament this miniscule book talks more about the coming day of the Lord than any other. In fact, this prophecy mentions nothing of events that happened during the day of writing. It speaks exclusively of the coming day of God’s judgment, and Zephaniah reminds us here that this day is near and hastening fast. 

You can mark it down; Jesus is coming again. He came the first time to show us how to live and to pay the debt due our sinfulness, but He’s coming again to usher in His Kingdom on this earth. When Christ reigns over this earth the opportunity for those on earth now to be saved will be over. He says here this will be a great and terrible day. It will be a day of distress and anguish, gloom and devastation, darkness and ruin. Zephaniah reminds Israel and us here that money won’t help you in the judgment. How good we are or how many people we have helped will not be our salvation. Only repentance of sin and faith in Christ will result in rescue from His wrath. 

Don’t get lulled to sleep. Don’t let complacency keep you from pursuing Christ. Judgment is coming, the end is near. Christ could return at any moment. Live for Jesus now. Share Jesus with someone else today. Don’t put it off or it just might be too late. 

Father God, help me to wake up to your coming judgment. Forgive me for applauding when I should be praying and sharing the gospel. Put a new sense of urgency in my heart through the indwelling Presence of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name I pray, amen. 

Mark 14:38
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.