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Summary: In our survey of "The Minor Prophets" we now come to the first of three prophets who preached to Judah alone, following the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel

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"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

Zephaniah - Through Judgment To Blessing (1:1-3:20)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets" we now come to the first of

three prophets who preached to Judah alone, following the downfall

of the northern kingdom of Israel

2. The prophet is Zephaniah, whose name means "Jehovah Hides"

a. Concerning the MAN

1) King Hezekiah was his great-great-grandfather - Zeph 1:1

2) This has prompted some to call him "the royal prophet"

3) He was contemporary with Jeremiah, as were Nahum and Habakkuk

b. Concerning his MESSAGE

1) Zephaniah prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah

a) Josiah ruled from 640-609 B.C.

b) He was a good king, a great reformer - 2Ch 34:1-3,29-33;

35:1-19

c) Josiah's reforms were short-lived, however, and the nation

soon apostasized after his death

2) Zephaniah proclaimed the coming "day of the Lord" - cf. Zeph 1:7,14-16

a) So vivid are his descriptions that George Adam Smith wrote:

"No hotter book lies in all the Old Testament."

b) And yet it ends on an encouraging note concerning the

future

-- Therefore its overall message is: "Through Judgment To

Blessing"

[As we get into the book, we note that it can be divided into three

sections. The first section encouraged the people to "look within"...]

I. GOD'S WRATH COMING UPON JUDAH

A. THE LORD IS BRINGING JUDGMENT!

1. The prophet announces a universal and all-consuming judgment

- Zeph 1:1-3

2. With special mention and attention given Judah - Zeph 1:4-6

B. THE "DAY OF THE LORD" IS AT HAND!

1. This "day" as it will affect Judah and Jerusalem - Zeph 1:7-13

a. Punishment upon the princes and king's children (note, the

king himself is not mentioned), and upon those who are full

of violence and deceit

b. There will wailing and mourning in the city of Jerusalem

c. The Lord will search out and punish the complacent

2. This great "day" described - Zeph 1:14-18

a. A day that is near and hastens quickly

b. A day of devastation, desolation, darkness, and distress

c. A day in which silver and gold cannot deliver one from the

Lord's wrath

C. AND SO - A CALL FOR THE NATION TO REPENT!

1. Before the day of the Lord's anger comes upon them - Zeph 2:1-2

2. To seek the Lord, to seek righteousness, to seek humility

- Zeph 2:3

[Having encouraged the people to "look within" and see the need for

their own repentance, Zephaniah now prompts the people to "look around"

to see...]

II. GOD'S WRATH COMING UPON SURROUNDING NATIONS

A. GOD'S JUDGMENT ON NATIONS EAST AND WEST...

1. Philistia - Zeph 2:4-7

a. It's cities will be made desolate, the inhabitants

destroyed

b. The land will be for the remnant of Judah, whose captivity

God will restore

2. Moab & Ammon - Zeph 2:8-11

a. They shall be like Sodom and Gomorrah

b. Because of their pride, and for their mocking reproach of

God's people

c. And God will one day be worshipped by people from all

nations

B. GOD'S JUDGMENT ON NATIONS SOUTH AND NORTH...

1. Ethiopia will by slain by the sword - Zeph 2:12

2. Assyria with its capital Nineveh will become desolate - Zeph 2:13-15

C. AND SO - WOE TO JERUSALEM...

1. She has rebelled against the Lord - Zeph 3:1-5

a. She has not obeyed His voice nor drawn near to Him

b. Her civil and religious leaders are like lions and wolves,

insolent and doing violence to the Law

c. The unjust knows no shame; the Lord, however, is righteous

and never fails in His justice

2. She has ignored God's judgment upon other nations - Zeph 3:6-7

a. Which should have prompted her to receive God's instruction

b. But instead the people corrupted all their deeds

[Finally, lest the faithful remnant despair, Zephaniah ends his message

with a "look beyond"...]

III. THROUGH JUDGMENT TO BLESSING

A. WAIT UPON THE LORD...

1. The faithful are told to wait for Lord to carry out His

judgment - Zeph 3:8

2. Even as Micah said he would do - cf. Mic 7:7-9

B. GOD WILL RESTORE HIS PEOPLE...

1. After His judgment, God will restore to the peoples

(Gentiles?) a "pure language" to worship and serve Him in one

accord - Zeph 3:9

2. His dispersed ones (Israel?) shall bring offerings from afar

- Zeph 3:10

3. God will remove the proud from His "holy mountain", leaving a

meek and humble people who will trust and rest in the Lord

- Zeph 3:11-13

C. AND SO - THERE WILL BE JOY IN JERUSALEM...

1. For the Lord will remove their judgments and their enemies

- Zeph 3:14-15

2. For the Lord will be in their midst, providing them with

gladness, love and singing - Zeph 3:16-17

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