As we have learned the people of Judah have corrupted themselves through sin, through idolatry, through complacency, and time is running out. The danger is real. The danger is close by. The day of this judgment will be here before they know it and Zephaniah is warning them to get ready!
In Zephaniah 2:3 the prophet gives them a solution to this urgent dilemma. “Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.”
Notice the very frightening fact here that Zephaniah does not say, “Examine yourselves, repent, and you will be spared the coming judgment.” No, he warns them that they need to get ready for the judgment and if they seek the Lord in humility and righteousness then maybe (the word in Hebrew is perhaps) they will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger. The judgment is coming, it will not be removed. But if they seek the Lord and obey His Word perhaps they will be safe in the midst of the coming judgment.
So what does it mean to seek the Lord? Often when we hear that command we act like we would prefer to seek His hands, not His face – give me, provide for me, do for me….but to seek His face, to seek Him is to worship, to exalt Him and glorify Him. It is to focus our attention upon Him in all of His holiness and perfection and goodness. So how do we seek the Lord like this? Jeremiah provides an answer, in Jeremiah 29:13 we read, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” We must devote all of our attention and energy toward this pursuit of God.
We must also keep in mind that there is only one Way to seek God, only one Way to come to Him, and that is through Jesus. So to seek the Lord is to through Christ. It is John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Amos says it this way in Amos 5:6, “Seek the Lord and live.” And we read in John 6:28-29, “Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
To seek God is to seek Christ and to seek Christ is to believe Him.
Zephaniah also says to seek righteousness. Righteousness is being right with God. Jesus said it this way in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” And in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” The only true satisfaction we will find in this life is a guarantee if we are seeking, hungering and thirsting, after being right with God.
He also says to seek humility. Humility is it said is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. The gospel of self-esteem makes humility pretty near impossible these days, doesn’t it? Too often when people come with a problem or an issue the answer is to see all that you are in Christ and all that God has given you…but too often we begin to think we get what we deserve and we have these great things because we are so great. No. We are not great. We get all these great things because God is so great that He gives us what we don’t deserve – He gives us grace and mercy! Humility is submission – it is subjecting ourselves to Christ and His Lordship. We are bought and paid for slaves of Jesus – bought with His precious blood, not because we deserve it, but because we don’t!