Zephaniah 1:7a, 12, 14-15 - Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near ... At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, 'The LORD will not do good, nor will He do ill.' ... 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.
When I was younger, before the turn of the millennium, there was a lot of talk about the end of the world. What would it be like when the Lord Jesus returned? Much of what I read was sensationalist—meant to scare rather than comfort, based more on horror and science fiction than on straight Bible facts.
And yet, it's true that for many people, the Day of the Lord will be a terrible thing. The prophet Zephaniah describes it this way: "A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish ... a day of clouds and thick darkness." It is a day of judgment for the wickedness of the world—and in a world full of sinners, that doesn't sound like good news at all.
And yet, there's a ray of hope for us here. In the very next chapter, Zephaniah says this: "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do His just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord" (Zephaniah 2:3).
That's our ray of hope. Perhaps we may be hidden. Perhaps the anger of God will pass over us. But where is our safe hiding place? For we are sinners, too.
Our hiding place is Jesus Christ, our Savior. Yes, we are sinners, but we know that God has given us Jesus to be our Shelter and our Hope. We run to Him in faith, trusting Him to shield us from what we deserve. He is like a great rock with a safe hiding place in it, where nothing can hurt us. Even God's righteous anger will not reach us there.
Why not? Because Jesus, who is God Himself, has taken our place under judgment. We did the wrong, but He paid the price. Through His willing death on the cross, He removed the charges that lay against every one of us; and through His resurrection, He broke the death sentence that was rightfully ours. We are free—free from fear, free from shame, free from judgment.
Now we can safely rest in Jesus, knowing that He will be our safety and shelter forever. And when we face God on the Day of the Lord, it will not be with feelings of guilt and shame. No, it will be hearts full of joy and love for our Father who takes evildoers and turns them into His own beloved children. Because through Jesus our Savior, that is what we have become—God's own welcome sons and daughters, forever.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, hide me in Yourself, my strong Rock and my Refuge. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Have you ever been afraid of God? When?
2. How does Jesus deal with our fear of God?
3. You've heard the song that starts, "Rock of ages, cleft for me." What does that line mean?
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