Zephaniah 1:7-16 - The prophet Zephaniah reminds us of the reason the Lord must return. Sin will cause death and destruction. The prophet reminds his hearers’ sin will cause destruction and death. Zephaniah calls upon the nation to be “silent” before God.
Similarly the psalmist David wrote, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46) If one is to hear what God has to say, there must be silence. Because of this, silence is requested in a library or concert hall. But, there is greater reason for silence. In the face of something catastrophic or terrible, our only reaction is silence. When the seal is broken in heaven, there is a half hour of silence. Zephaniah has a dreadful word from God: The day of the Lord is coming as a day of doom, gloom, destruction, and death for all people. That is enough to shake us into silence.
The “end” is final. There is nothing beyond or it would not be the end. The wrath of God will not be spent until the end of everything. It reminds us of the result of nuclear warfare and the end of the earth. This passage gives us no hope, no solution. The end is promised and it will come, unless.... Or, is it too late?
It’s never too late when it comes to the Lord’s timing. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the time for change. Now is the time for the Church to be bold in witness. As mentioned earlier, the readings, as we near the end of the church year, take on a somber tone. They remind us of the sure and certain return of the Lord Jesus, which ought to give us pause to be vigilant, to be prepared to meet the Lord when He returns.
Lord God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by your Holy Spirit that, always keeping in mind the end of all things and the day of judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of life here and may live with you forever in the world to come.
The Crucifixion, Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, The Book of Books in Pictures. copyright © WLS for personal and congregational use
 Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis