SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2012.
A CALL TO REPENTANCE
“…Before your time to repent is blown away like chaff. Act now, before the fierce fury of the Lord falls… Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow His commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you –protect you from His anger on that day of destruction” -Zep. 2:2,3.
LAST week, in this column, the prophet sounded the trumpet of God’s judgment on Judah and all persons who did not obey Him. Today, the prophet goes a step further, saying there is still time for people to avert God’s judgment. They simply have to turn from their sins, humble themselves, and obey God.
The Old Testament prophets at one time or the other announced news of destruction. But they also offered the only means of escape and protection –turning from sin and walking with God (Micah 6:8). God forgives any person, family or nation that seeks Him in repentance, no matter the sins committed. His will is not that the sinner should die but rather come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).
The book of Jonah tells us how a nation wholeheartedly returned to God in true repentance. The Bible says: “when the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city ‘No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all -Jonah 3:6,7. The Ninevites were open to God’s message and repented immediately. What a great repentance!
Are there areas in our lives that require God’s forgiveness? Are there areas in our communities and nations that need God’s forgiveness? We have to confess and forsake our sins (Prov. 28:13).
The Bible encourages us: ‘if we confess our sins, God is able to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ -I John 1v9. Sin causes separation between God and us. That is why it is needful we deal with it before we are overruled and ruined.
Prophet Zephaniah gives us the antidote and beckons to every believer: Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow His commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you –protect you from His anger on that day of destruction.” What a great assurance from our heavenly Father!
We are aware: ‘there is no repentance in the grave’ -Eccl. 9v10. Therefore, now that we have opportunity, it is good to seek the Lord in humility and turn to Him in repentance to avoid His wrath. There is no gainsaying the fact: the Day of the Lord will be horrible for the disobedient. I trust that we will seek the Lord while He may be found.
May the Holy Spirit of God guide and guard us.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.