In Habakkuk and Zephaniah, He's pleading for revival
Simple Breakdown of Habakkuk
The book of Habakkuk, written by Habakkuk for the Kingdom of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, to awaken their spiritual needs and warn them of the impending judgments from God, can be divided into three parts...each part correlating with each of its three chapters.
- A record of spiritual burden (chapter 1). The prophet Habakkuk comes to the conclusion that the justice of man is a perverted justice But, then, God gives to Habakkuk a reply of how He is truly in control, and not mankind. In this revelation from God, Habakkuk's confidence is restored, and He fears not the coming judgments. Then, however, Habakkuk state definitively that God is too pure to look upon the vile evil pervading the world. Habakkuk's spiritual burden then becomes mankind and its perversion of God's fair and just laws.
- A record of a vision (chapter 2). God again responds to Habakkuk's complaint of mankind and its evilness and vileness, wondering how God can even think to look upon such evilness and vileness. God gives to Habakkuk a revelation of the judgments to come; these judgments might come at a snail's pace but they will come, and when they do, Habakkuk, and all the inhabitants of the world will know that God alone is in control. God further states that a righteous man will always live in their faith.
- A record of a prayer (chapter 3). Habakkuk prayed to God that God might remember His mercy to His people, even in the giving of the punishments. God, being God, is mindful of the prayers of Habakkuk, as He is with us, I might add. God reminds Habakkuk that judgment and punishment had been threatened and threatened and threatened, yet His children did not heed His words; judgment must come, and it would not be a pretty picture. Habakkuk's answer to God was that, in patience, he would wait for the fallout of God's judgment; but, that he would stand in joy because God is his, the, Savior.
the Day of the Lord
Zephaniah 2:1-2--"Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord's wrath comes upon you."
There is coming a time when God's anger will give way to His wrath and judgment and justice in lieu of His grace, love and mercy. God will only allow man to wallow in his pride for a time, then the punishment must be given.
Zephaniah 2:3--"Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger."
God give us a hope of escape, a way of escape, from His judgments. We find that hope in John 3:16, "'For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.'" A hope is promised and a hope is given. In our humility, in our laying aside our shameful pride, we find this hope and are saved through grace and love.
Zephaniah 3:9--"Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve Him shoulder to shoulder."
Zephaniah 3:14-15--"Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, He has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm."
God loves us, His children. When we disobey Him, there is sure to be a punishment. But, when the punishment is done, He restores us with a renewed heart.
Let me put it to you as a parent speaking through parental experience. When I say to my (almost) 12 year-old son to clean his room, and he does not, he is in direct disobedience to the words I have spoken to him. Now, he may or may not have several chance to comply; but, then, if he still has yet to do as he was told, a punishment is given to him. For something such as not cleaning his room, I take away a prized privilege; in this case, Xbox time. There is nothing my son finds more enjoyable than playing his Xbox video games. So, his punishment is a restriction of his Xbox time, for a specified period of time; i.e.-one day, two days, three days, etc. After his time of pulled privilege is finished, he is given back his Xbox time, conditionally upon a cleaned up room. The longer he takes to clean his room, the longer his Xbox time remains forfeited. During his time of punishment, I need him to think over in his little think brain why he did not obey; what were his reasons behind disobedience and noncompliance to the rules. At the end of the day, the punishment is not what is of top priority, rather what he learned while in the punishment period. I need him to know that I love him so much, and that is in my will and in his best interest that he complies with the rules of this house. He does understand, mostly, because, number one, he's old enough to understand; but, number two, because he knows that pride, arrogance and disobedience is not good or right to his spirit.
God is our Parent. He does not like to take away the things that He knows brings us enjoyment; but, neither can He abide us disobeying His will. His will is good and perfect (Romans 12:2) because it is good and perfect for us. If we follow the laws,decrees, commands and precepts that He has set for us in His Word (the Bible), we are assured of an eternal life. We must believe and have faith in Jesus and in His good and perfect work.
1 Kings 19:5b
The Day of the Lord is at hand!
Lest we forget that the Bible is our atlas for this journey we are all on called Life, we need to heed the words of the Old Testament prophets. These prophets' main roles were to speak to the people, to all the people even though sometimes to specified people, about the words and will that God would have them speak. These prophets served as megaphones, if you will, declaring the words of God.
Case in point: the Day of the Lord. Judgment was about to come upon the land of Israel, both the Kingdom of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and the Kingdom of Judah (the Southern Kingdom). These same judgments will befall every nation even today, for the nations of today have prostituted themselves in the shallow pride, greed and villainy as did the nations of old.
- The Day of the Lord is at hand. Zephaniah 1:4, 7, 14--"And I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests. Be silent before the Sovereign Lord for the day of the Lord is near. the Lord has prepared a sacrifice; He has consecrated those He has invited. The great day of the Lord is near-near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of he Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there."
- On the Day of the Lord, even the mighty will be brought low. Zephaniah 1:14--"The great day of the Lord is near-near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there."
- The Day of the Lord will be a time of darkness, terror, wrath and desolation. Zephaniah 1:15--"That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness."
- The Day of the Lord will be a time of alarm. Zephaniah 1:16--A day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers."
- On the Day of the Lord, judgment will come upon sin. Zephaniah 1:17--"I will bring distress on the people and they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord. their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like filth."
- The day of the Lord will be accompanied by great signs in nature. Zephaniah 1:15--That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness."
- The Day of the Lord will be the day of the Lord's anger. Zephaniah 1:2-3--"'I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,' declares the Lord. 'I will sweep away both men and animals; I wills weep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. the wicked will have only heaps of rubble when I cut off man from the face of the earth.' declares the Lord."
- The Day of the Lord will fall upon all creation. Zephaniah 2:1-15. Zephaniah 3:8--"'Therefore wait for me,' declare the Lord, 'for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them-all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.'"
Church, if this is not compelling evidence to wake up, arise and get on your journey for Kingdom advancement, then I don't know what is. Church, we have a job to do, just the same as the prophets and the disciples. Bet off your fundaments and get to work! Those chairs and pews you're sitting on will be perfectly fine with just gravity holding them in place! As the Great Awakenings of the early to mid 1800s, a new great awakening is about to take place all across our homeland planet.
In Haggai, the next book of the Old Testament, after Habakkuk and Zephaniah, is the first of the post-exilic writers; meaning, it was written after the Israelites were allowed to return to their Promised Land from being in exile in the Babylonian provinces. Haggai comes forth with encouragement meant to challenge the Israelites in the rebuilding of the House of God.