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Summary: Beyond the Burning. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Zephaniah chapter 3 verses 8-20.

Ill:

• Captain of a plane flying over the Atlantic ocean made an announcement;

• We have some good news and some bad news,

• The good news is we are making record time,

• The bad news is we are lost!

• I think that is a good description of the world in which we live;

• And that is how Zephaniah must have felt with his prophecy.

• Most of his book seems to be bad news,

• But for some, it will finish with very good news indeed.

The book as you probably are aware divides into 3 sections:

• Section 1: conveys the prophet’s basic message;

• God’s people are told to repent because there is a judgement coming.

• Section 2: carries the same theme,

• But this time the message is to the surrounding nations, to;

• E.g. Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Cush and Assyria.

• God is not just the God of Israel and Judah but of all people.

• Section 3: Informs us that although the judgement of God will fall on Judah,

• This will not be the last word.

• The good news is that the destruction of the city, would not be the final end.

• Beyond the judgement lay a day of restoration and new life.

Verse 8:

Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD,

“for the day I will stand up to testify.

I have decided to assemble the nations,

to gather the kingdoms

and to pour out my wrath on them—

all my fierce anger.

The whole world will be consumed

by the fire of my jealous anger.

(1). The Day of The Lord.

• You may have noticed that the Lord’s day or ‘the day of the Lord’;

• Has figured again and again through out the book:

• ‘The day of the LORD’ (chapter 1 verse 7)

• ‘The day of the LORD’S sacrifice’ (chapter 1 verse 8)

• ‘The great day of the LORD’ (chapter 1:14)

• ‘The day of the LORD’S wrath/anger’ (chapter 2 verse 2-3)

• ‘The day I will stand up to testify’ (chapter 3 verse 8)

Ill:

• The people of Zephaniah’s day were like the company and crew of the Titanic,

• They were full of the joys of life,

• Dancing cheerfully in the ballroom,

• Unaware of the danger that was lying ahead

Zephaniah the prophet/messenger of God could see the approaching ice-burg:

• Question: What was the approaching ice-burg?

• Answer: His book calls it “The Day of the Lord”.

The expression: “The Day of the Lord”:

• Is not a single day but a period of time, during which God judges His enemies;

• And establishes His kingdom on earth.

• We sometimes refer to it when we pray what’s called the Lord’s prayer,

• E.g. In the expression - “Thy kingdom come”.

• That is the New Testaments way of referring to

• “The Day of the Lord”.

• The day of the Lord for some will be a day of judgement,

• For others a day of salvation.

(2). The judgment of the nations (vs 8).

8 Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD,

“for the day I will stand up to testify.

I have decided to assemble the nations,

to gather the kingdoms

and to pour out my wrath on them—

all my fierce anger.

The whole world will be consumed

by the fire of my jealous anger.

(1). God is mindful (verse 8):

• The language of Zephaniah is very apocalyptic:

• God is not blind to the atrocities and horrors perpetrated by nations,

• Crime does not pass unpunished,

• Eventually the world’s nations are summoned to answer for their deeds.

• We are not told how this will be, or what manner judgement will take,

• But the prophet passionately declares that international justice will take place.

Ill:

• Adolf Hitler may have thought he had escaped judgement,

• When he blew his brains out with a pistol

• But Zephaniah reminds us that he and every other evil and corrupt leader,

• Will one day face the justice and the judgement of God.

Ill:

• Men may seem to win the battle,

• But God will win the war!

(2). God will witness (verse 8).

“For the day I will stand up to testify.”

• When God sits in judgement,

• He is the only competent witness who can be called to testify.

• No-one will be able to question the accuracy of his testimony,

• Or the quality of his character!

• His perfect witness will provide all that is need for the conviction of those before him.

• His testimony will be honest and true!

Ill:

• The picture here in these verses;

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