Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O desirable nation, before the decree is issued, or the day passes as chaff, before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! 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. (NKJV)
The prophet Zephaniah declares God’s Word to the people of Israel: that judgment is fast approaching. But the coming judgment can be avoided if the nation seeks the LORD. How the nation seeks the LORD will lead to God’s intent for His people – character development. One of these character traits stated in this passage is humility, which we have seen is the essence of being poor in spirit. Let us examine each element that God wants the nation to seek out and how each piece of the puzzle fits in helping us in becoming poor in spirit.
Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. The starting point is to seek God and His whole essence; everything that the Lord is we go after. We can study His attributes and learn how each one can be applied to our lives and gain the understanding of who He is. We can search the Scripture daily to seek Him in His Word. We can seek Him in prayer and in worship. The point is to go after the complete God as presented in the Scriptures.
But from there, you will search for the LORD your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29, HCSB)
Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually! (1 Chronicles 16:10-11, Amplified)
The meek are to seek the Lord. The word used for meek in the Hebrew means poor, oppressed, afflicted, humble. It is used of persons who put themselves after others in importance; persons who are not proud, haughty, supercilious, self-assertive, low in rank or position. In other words, the meek are people described as being poor in spirit. Also, the seeker of the Lord is one who upholds justice as in a previous meditation’s discussion. These are the people who are poor in spirit.
Seek righteousness. Righteousness as used here in the Hebrew means a right relation to an ethical or legal standard. The word is frequently connected with the term justice, as used here. The standard is the Lord God Himself and the only way to seek righteousness is to know the standard of the Biblical text and its Author.
Listen to Me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut, and to the quarry from which you were dug. (Isaiah 51:1, HCSB)
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:33, Amplified)
Seek humility. Finally, we are to seek humility, the essence of being poor in spirit. The word used for seek means in the Hebrew to search out and strive for. It takes some effort to do. We are never to be passive in seeking what God has for us including developing the character of becoming poor in spirit.
Simply commit today to follow the key points presented in this lesson as vital to your character development in the Lord.