And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, “The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.” Therefore their goods shall become booty, and their houses a desolation; they shall build houses, but not inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards, but not drink their wine. The great day of the Lord is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers. I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse. 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, or He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land. (Zephaniah 1:12-18)
Will The Lord Do Good And Evil?
There is no doubt that God is a wonderful and benevolent Father. His grace exceeds any thought of man and His mercy outlasts all that man can imagine. The goodness of the Lord is evident by the magnificence of His creation. Love permeates every part of His nature. Giving Jesus as a sacrifice for man is the greatest gift man has ever received. Too often men focus on the single character of God’s love without knowing the fierce jealousy of His wrath upon the disobedient.
A study of the prophets is a valuable tool to look deeply into the mind of God. Neglected by many as hard to understand, the books of the prophets yield a bountiful crop of the goodness and severity of the Lord God. Zephaniah is a prophet that fills the pages with the grace of God but only tempered by the reality of how the Lord will bring judgment against a rebellious people steeped in idolatry. He warns the people to be silent in the presence of the Lord for the day of judgment is at hand. Disobedience will be punished. Complacency will be rewarded with punishment.
There are many who do not believe the Lord will do anything severe. Satan has always convinced people that God is real but He is such a loving God He would never punish them. Zephaniah shows this to be false. Jesus came into the world to save man but most men reject the severity of God. Everyone believes in Heaven and very few believe in Hell. It seems contrary to man’s wisdom that a great and powerful God would punish anyone with eternal punishment. Jesus taught there was a place of eternal torment. The prophets establish God’s character as being one of severity. He will bring judgment to a rebellious people.
The day of the Lord’s wrath will come by the fire of His jealousy. Salvation will come to those who love the Lord and obey His commands. Heaven is a place prepared for a prepared people. Hell is a place prepared for those who deny the severity of the Lord and who fail to prepare themselves for the judgment. The faithful remnant will be saved. The goodness and severity of God is real. Which will you embrace?