Summary: Zephaniah has something to say to America and to the world today. It’s a warning of the judgments of God, and a word of hope for those who will listen.
Wailing at the Fish Gate
Sunday AM, May 3, 2009
Zephaniah 1:1-3, "The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD."
I think it’s interesting to look at the names of people in the Bible and to begin to gain some insight into God’s plan as he works with men to bring about the plan of God.
In this passage God is speaking to a prophet in the Land of Judah by the name of Zephaniah. His name means, “the Lord is my secret”. I think that’s a great name, don’t you? Zephaniah was God’s secret in the Land of Judah during a time when Israel was steeped in idolatry and had turned its back on God. It is interesting to note that in midst of Israel’s rebellion, God had a “secret” in their midst.
God is ever present and there is nothing hidden from his sight. No matter how far we may try to run, or how deep we go into the depths of sin, his presence is always right beside us. I hear the stories of people all of the time who were once in the very depths of sin. Some had gone so far down that they couldn’t see a way up anymore. When hope is lost and Satan has done his worst, it may seem that there is no way out but death, remember, “God has a secret”. That “Secret” is that his presence is ever near and according to 2 Peter 3:9 God is, "… is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Bro. Mike was relating to me yesterday some of the things that he will never forget from his past life. Sometimes it does us good to remember lest we forget how far God has brought us, and how blessed we are to still be here, standing in his presence. God had a secret for Bro. Mike during those days that he lived for Satan so strongly. That secret was that “God was still there, watching over him, keeping him, preserving him for a time when he would become a man after God’s own heart.”
Aren’t you glad that God never gives up on us? David said in Psalms 139:7-10, "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
No matter what you are facing this morning; and no matter how from God you may roam, God still has a secret, “He’s still there with you, desiring that you turn back to him.”
Israel was at a low point in its history. The judgments of God were beginning to fall and God was doing all that he could to bring them back into a place of obedience and blessings. In the midst of all of this corruption and impending judgment, God had set a fire that would ignite a revival in Israel. Many days of sufferings, economic collapse, death and destruction lay ahead, but even now, it’s it beginning stages of judgment, God had a secret, he had a message, he had a man and God had set a king in place whose name was Josiah, meaning “the Lord burns, the fire of the Lord”. God was getting ready to burn idolatry and sin out of the hearts of his people. Hard times were upon them. Economic and social disaster loomed on the horizon, brought on by the fire of God. But through it all, God had a secret, he had a man for the hour, and God’s presence would be ever near.
The judgments of God, accompanied by the fire of God will bring a consuming power upon the land. God’s fire consumes evil men, either bringing them to repentance or removing them from their place, so that the healing process may begin. He consumes the produce of the land, and those things that men have learned to trust in, but that won’t stand the test of fire.
In Zephaniah 1:7God speaks and says, "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests." This was Zephaniah’s call to the ministry on behalf of his people.