Passage: Zephaniah 1:1~18  

Keyverse: 7a

Zephaniah prophesied in the time before the Babylonian invasion and captivity. He was a descendant of Hezekiah and a distant cousin to Josiah the former king during whose reign he prophesied. It was a dark time in Israel and Judah. He carried the lamp of God’s word at a time when it seemed like the lamp of God’s word had been extinguished in the land and darkness prevailed. He uses the expression “the Day of the Lord” seven times in these three short chapters. This gives the theme of the book: God’s judgment is coming on Judah for idol worship and complacency. Indeed, the first two chapters describe the judgment to come, but the third chapter speaks of hope—God’s hope—in judgment. In this way the hope of redemption, for a remnant of his people and for the nation, shines the light of the Lord and his mercy brightly in the midst of impending judgment.

The Lord is the judge. He is the judge of all the earth. He is the judge of all of nature, not just human beings, but of the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and of the animals that roam the earth. When the Lord judges, his judgment is complete. “‘I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,’ declares the Lord.” (1) There is nothing on earth that would not feel the judgment of the Lord.

From verse 4 Zephaniah turns to the Lord’s judgment on Judah and Jerusalem. The Lord was especially angry at his people. The Lord rebukes the nation of Judah through Zephaniah for two things. First, the Lord was angry because of the widespread worship of idols (Baal, the starry host, Molech). The Lord would also destroy all the created things people were worshipping instead of worshipping the Lord.

The Lord was also angry at peoples’ complacency. People thought they could do anything and everything, and the Lord “will do nothing, either good or bad.” They thought they could get away with anything. But the day of the Lord would come quickly. He would come and judge severely and completely.

Prayer: Lord, help us each to repent our worshipping of anything but the Lord God. Your day is near. Turn our hearts to you and help us to seek you.

One Word: The day of the Lord is coming