Behold or Woe

The prophet Zephaniah was the son of King Hezekiah and prophesied during the reign of Josiah. His prophesy speaks of the Day of the Lord which will come when Jesus returns at the end of the Great Tribulation. However, like the other prophets we have been reading, he also points to a near fulfillment as well. The near prophesy targets Judah and then the coastlands of the Philistines and the nation of the Cherethites who also inhabit the coast. Following the coastlands, we move eastward to Moab and Ammon, two nations born out of an incestuous relationship with Lot and his daughters after they were brought out of Sodom and Gomorrah. Next come Ethiopia and Assyria.

Bible scholars wonder why Babylon is not mentioned as it came to power around this time but it will not conquer Assyria until several years after Zephaniah is off the scene. I believe that the mention of these nations represents a type or form of rebellion against the Lord and the Lord’s wrath will be targeted at the beliefs, behaviors, and idols that these nations represent. In the case of Moab and Ammon, for instance, God says Moab will be like Sodom and Ammon will be like Gomorrah. 2:8

Judah has the temple where the people would go to offer their sacrifices, but the people’s hearts were far from the Lord. They were going through the motions but living according to the nations around them and worshiping their idols. In fact, we will see that the people treated the temple as an idol in a future study. God says He has prepared a sacrifice for the day of the Lord. 1:7

Assyria and Babylon represent two types found in the book of Revelation which are known as the two Babylons. One is represented by the antichrist and the other the false prophet.

Chapter 3 starts with the word, "woe!" When we read this word in the Bible we need to start listening, if we haven’t already. I remember an old pastor once said that when God says, woe it means someone is about to get whooped!

God also says, “Therefore wait for Me…” In Chapter 3:8a NASB

He is saying we are to keep the faith and stay the course. All these nations that are going to be judged also represent various forms of temptations that we all face. These temptations are meant to deceive us into abandoning our faith and in some cases without knowing we are drifting away. God has good things in store for us. In Revelation we read that God is going to make everything new. That is a prophesy that will be fulfilled in the future. But there is a near fulfillment for us to receive today. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” NASB

As we continue reading Chapter 3 we find that God has good things in store after the storm of His wrath. The world and the people who remain will be transformed, things will be glorious, and those who believe in Christ Jesus will be there to enjoy them. Today, anyone can become a new creature by giving their life to Christ.   If you haven’t done that yet why not trade in that “woe” for “behold.”

If you’re a believer and have drifted to the point where the old life is creeping back, don’t let anything in this world cause you to trade in what you have in Christ for anything this world has to offer.

Behold what God has done and is doing. Keep your eyes of faith upon Him!

Pastor Dave