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Zephaniah Through Judgment to Blessing

INTRODUCTION
1. This is the first of three prophets who preached to Judah alone after the fall 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 went astray again
      2) Zephaniah proclaimed the coming "day of the Lord" - cf. Zeph 1:7,14-16
         -- Therefore its overall message is: "Through Judgment To Blessing"
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
         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
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
         c. The unjust knows no shame; the Lord, however
      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
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, they will be glad, love and sing - Zeph 3:16-17
      3. For the Lord has given them great assurance - Zeph 3:18-20
         a. God will gather those who sorrow over the reproach of His people
         b. God will deal with those who afflicted His people
         c. God will gather those who have been driven out, and give them fame and praise
CONCLUSION
1. The message of Zephaniah is a simple one:  Judgment is coming, but blessings will follow for those who heed the warning to repent
   a. It was a message that would later comfort the remnant taken away into Babylonian captivity
   b. It was a message that perhaps had an initial fulfillment following their restoration under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah
   c. But I believe the ultimate fulfillment pertains to the age of the Messiah
      1) Which began with the establishment of His spiritual kingdom, the church
         a) Into which God is "gathering" His people - cf. 1Th 2:12
         b) In which we enjoy the presence of God and His blessings - cf. He 12:22-24
      2) Which will be culminated when Jesus comes again - Re 21:1-22:5
2. The message of the apostles is not really much different today...
   a. The "day of the Lord" (of which Zephaniah's "day" was a type) is coming - 2Pe 3:7-10
   b. God's people (i.e., the church) are admonished to remain faithful - 2Pe 3:11-14

Are we heeding that message?  For those willing to listen, here is what else Peter had to say...Ac 3:19-21
Be converted through your obedience to the gospel of Christ (cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38), and you too can "look beyond" the coming judgment for the blessings to follow!

Adapted from - http://executableoutlines.com/mp/mp_16.htm

 


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