"We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock while the glory of God passed by. We must take refuge from God in God. Above all we must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness."
I've been reading and studying the minor prophets a lot lately... yep, those scary books full of God's judgement and phrases like "consuming fire". When I signed myself up to write a song for every book of the Bible in a year, I was mostly thinking about writing songs from the Psalms, etc.... and I've had several "oh-crap-these-books-are-intense" moments while trying to write songs from the minor prophets (not to mention Leviticus, eh?).- A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
But as I've studied these books - specifically Joel, Zephaniah, and Malachi - in the past few weeks, I have seen a major theme emerge: Even as God sends His all-consuming wrath against sin, He sends a refuge from that very same wrath. We cannot hide from His judgement, because we all fall short of His holiness. And yet, He says "hide here." Hide in the wounds of Jesus and hide behind the cross.
What I'm trying to say might be best summed up by a chorus that I wrote for "A Place to Hide" (the song I wrote for Zephaniah, see below to listen and download):
Oh He’s both the refuge and consuming flame
Oh He brings the judgment and He mediates
Oh He sends the justice and He justifies
Sends the wrath that finds you and the place to hide
You know that verse that Christians quote from Zephaniah? The one that says "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing"? When put in the context of God's just judgement, His wrath and His consuming fire, this verse becomes very, very good news and so much more than a feel-good verse that reminds us of God's love.