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by Charles Box
The Coming of Judgment Upon Judah
Zephaniah identified himself as being the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah. His prophetic work was done in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. Zephaniah delivered a message of doom to his people. Through his eyes the future looked dim for his nation. Zephaniah is remembered for what he said about the great day of the Lord being near. God said, "I will utterly consume all things from off the land." ( Zep_1:2 ) Zephaniah believed that the Jews would soon face certain judgment. They were guilty of turning from the true and living God to idol worship. Zephaniah was not the first prophet to predict the coming of the Day of the Lord. He did give specific meaning to that concept. He saw that day as a day of wrath and despair. At the coming of the Day of the Lord sins would be punished.
Zephaniah lived in Jerusalem. He was contemporary with Nahum, Habakkuk and Jeremiah. He called on the faithful remnant to seek the Lord. The focus in each of the three chapters of Zephaniah is "the Day of the Lord." Zephaniah, along with a few other prophets, described the moral collapse of the people of God. Judah claimed to be God's people but they were living in spiritual adultery. The Lord said through Zephaniah "I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him." ( Zep_1:4-6 ) The great lesson is again obvious in this short book; the steadfast, faithful and obedient will be blessed by God. We also observe that those who turn away from God must repent or they will face the wrath of God.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29