Zephaniah was privileged to minister in Judah during the reign of godly King Josiah. He was one of the last prophets to preach before the fall of Jerusalem. A hundred years earlier, Israel had fallen to Assyria and Zephaniah knew Judah would suffer the same fate for the same reasons.
God will vindicate His righteousness by holding every nation accountable for their sins. The book begins with a horrific statement of global judgment, and describes Judah as the epitome of moral degeneration. The prophet then pronounces God’s coming judgment upon the nations that surround Judah in every direction (2:14-15). Because God’s nature is holy, He demands holiness of His people and will judge all who ignore His statutes.
However, the tone of the book changes as it concludes. Although national judgment was inevitable, personal repentance is still possible. The faithful remnant will be redeemed and restored, for God’s door of mercy is always open to those who desire to obey and serve Him.
Woven throughout Zephaniah’s prophecies is the theme of “The Day of the Lord.” God will bless and preserve His faithful remnant. The prophet looks beyond the nation’s exile in Babylon and paints a beautiful picture of the Messianic age. A great era of rejoicing is in store for the redeemed.
1. Name the prophet’s godly, great, great grandfather (1:1).
2. Sum up Zephaniah’s message in 1:2-11.
3. From 2:4-15, list the foreign nations ripe for judgment.
4. From 3:11-20, describe the destiny of the faithful remnant.
5. Count the number of times the phrase “The Day of the Lord” or “that day” is used in the book. What must a Believer do in order to make “The Day of the Lord” a blessing rather than a burden?
6. What does Peter say concerning “The Day of the Lord” (II Peter 3:10-14)? How does Zephaniah describe that day (1:2-7 and 14-18)?