Summary: God With Us, A Mighty Warrior Who Saves, Delight
WORDS FOR LIFE - The Mighty Warrior Who Saves
August 5, 2018
Zephaniah 3:17 (p. 659)
Everyone turn to Zephaniah 3:17…And I know without a doubt this is one of those days you rejoice that I give page numbers (lol). It’s 659.
It says: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah is located between Habakkuk and Haggai in the Old Testament…He’s one of what some call “the minor prophets.” I always hated that designation. Its like Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel play in the big leagues and Zephaniah and the others are like in the triple A’s.
And although Zephaniah might not be as well known as many of the Prophets…His ministry teaches us an amazing truth about God and His plan.
What is that truth? God NEVER STOPS FIGHTING FOR HIS REMNANT!!!”
Zephaniah speaks to a people who had disregarded God to the point of rejection for centuries…instead of selecting rulers that would follow God and honor the covenant relationships…they selected leaders that followed the gods of other nations…they lost their distinctiveness and become idol worshipping and oppressed people.
After the nation split into two kingdoms Judah and Israel…Judah had very few godly kings…one of them was Hezekiah. Coincidentally he was Zephaniah’s great, great grandfather…but Zephaniah grew up while Manasseh was ruling…Manasseh was one of the most corrupt and wicked kings ever to sit on the throne…they sacrificed children in the fire to a god called Molek…and built high places to worship Baal and many other foreign gods…The city of Jerusalem became a cesspool of corruption and depravity under his reign…His son Ammon succeeds him and he is just as evil.
So when Josiah, Ammon’s son, come to the throne of Judah…Zephaniah is called to prophesy Judah’s fall…Judah’s punishment and judgment.
Zephaniah uses the phrase “The Day of the Lord” more than any other book in the Old Testament. Zephaniah says “the day of the Lord is near” in Chapter 1 verse 14, it will be a day of wrath in vs. 15.
It would come as judgment upon sin verse 17…But he also includes this truth…it will result in the blessing of God’s presence among His people in Chapter 3 verse 17…That there would be restoration of God’s remnant.
Jani and Ruthie shared why this verse impacts their lives…but what does it mean for us today?
First of all…
I. GOD’S JUDGMENT WILL COME
Zephaniah 3:8 says, “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.”
Zephaniah prophesies the fall of Judah to Babylon…Judgment is coming and it does in 586 BC…total destruction of Jerusalem and Judah…The temple, which was to be the dwelling place of God, had become so corrupted, pigs were sacrificed on its altar eradicated to the ground.
The Day of the Lord’s judgement came and captivity followed.
But Zephaniah sees farther into the future than 60 years…He sees the whole world consumed. He sees a Final Judgment of fire by a jealous God.
God’s judgment on sin came in a flood in Genesis 6…God’s judgment upon sin fell in fire upon Sodom & Gomorrah…It came upon Israel and Judah in 586 BC and 70 AD.
All judgment on sin came upon Jesus at Calvary…He who knew no sin became sin…and died to pay for God’s wrath…it was poured out on Him instead of me…and you.
But if you reject that payment…continue in your sin without the hope of a Savior…what hope do you have when you stand before a jealous God?
Peter the Apostle sees this coming Day of the Lord that Zephaniah predicted hundreds of years before…Peter says:
2 PETER 3:3-13 (p. 854)
We like to think about God’s love, peace and mercy…and man!!! He is a patient and forgiving God…but there will be a day that patience will end…and judgment will come…and if you are still in your sin, if you have rejected Christ as your Savior, punishment will come…God will send you to Hell…not because He’s unjust, but because He is perfectly just.
This World and everything in it will be totally laid bare and purified with fire.
God’s desire is that no one should stand before Him to be punished…His patience and love are beyond measure…but His patience will one day come to an end.
This was Zephaniah’s word to Judah and to us…and its Peter’s Word to his world and to us. And I believe with all my heart what Peter says will happen is just as sure as “the flood” and “Babylon’s destruction of Jerusalem.”