Zephaniah and the coming Day of the Lord
Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord
Scripture reading: Matthew 5:1-16, Psalm 96, Luke 15
Intro to the Book of Zephaniah
-Zephaniah was of royal blood, being the great great grandson of King Hezekiah
-Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of King Josiah --the last good king Judah
-It was about 25 years before the Babylonians came and took Jerusalem and Judah away to Babylon
-Zephaniah's name --- and it's significant to the message of the book- means "The Lord hides/hidden of the Lord"
-The Book of Zephaniah is built around 1 theme: The Coming Day of the Lord.
-There are some Israel specific aspects to Zephaniah's prophecy. Note Zephaniah 3 and the great future that awaits a purified
remnant of the Jewish people. Such will happen in the last days leading up to the return of Christ. (see Romans 9-11)
LESSONS. PRINCIPLES, OBSERVATIONS FROM THE TEXT
I. JUDGMENT DAY IS COMING- turn to God before it's too late
Read Zephaniah 1:2-3, 14-18
1. Zephaniah is not the only book of the Bible to warn of the great Day of the Lord
Warnings are also found in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Malachi, Isaiah, Joel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Thessalonians, Peter,
Colossians, Revelation, etc
3. For most, the Day of Judgment will be a day of sorrow- but not for all
In Psalm 98:7-9, being a Psalm of praise, it says; "Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let
the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the
earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
Similar words are found in Psalm 96. Further: The Day of Lord is a day long anticipated by the saints. Revelation 6:10; 19:1-3
4. We are to treat the message of the coming Day of the Lord and the destruction of the world seriously
5. The world wide flood of Genesis 6-9 - attested by geology- is proof that God is not bluffing about the coming judgment. As
God destroyed all life by the Flood of Genesis 6-9 so God will do again. See 2 Peter 3
6. Judgment day is about Justice. It's God's holy response to peoples sin. The sins of idol worship, mixed worship (God and
other), pride, injustice, violence, lying, stealing, mocking God, attacks on God's people, cheating, ignoring God, trusting in
money, sexual impurity, the breaking of God's commandments.
Note in particular God's irritation in Zephaniah 1:12; "At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are
complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, 'The LORD will do nothing, either good or bad.'
7. The Day of the Lord is coming- though many mock
This past week I read in the paper an article entitled "On Death Row". Throughout the article the author makes fun of a variety
of groups who continue to announce the coming end of the world- including Christians.
In 2 Peter 3:3-9 it says; 'First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their
own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has
since the beginning of creation." 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth
was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same
word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to
perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
8. Our job is to warn people of the coming Day, urging them to be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
To not warn people is not care about where they will spend eternity
9. While the day of judgment is sure, we must be careful to not fall into the trap of date setting.
"No man knows the day or the hour"
II. GOOD NEWS! THERE IS A WAY TO ESCAPE THE COMING DAY OF JUDGMENT
Read Zephaniah 2:1-3 and note the hope that is held out. Ultimately this hope is realized in Christ.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 it speaks of Jesus "rescuing us from the coming wrath."
Note the intersection of the meaning of Zephaniah's name with the hope laid out in Zephaniah 2:1-3
"The Lord hides/Hidden by the Lord"
On the Day of Judgment, on the Day of the Lord those who are humble, those who are right with God on His terms, those who
seek righteousness, will be sheltered and hidden from the destructive power of God's wrath.
Such reminds us of the Passover and how for every Jewish home marked by the blood of a Lamb were saved-- for the angel of
death passed over their home. This also leads us to Christ, who told his disciples that the Passover was all about Him. Here is
the message of the cross and the Lord's Supper. For all who are in Christ, the Day of Judgment holds no fear for such ones.
Why? Because Jesus has taken upon himself the wrath of God that we deserve for our sins. Our sins have been paid for. Hence
there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. (Romans 8:1)
The Bible tells us how to be right with God
In John 6:28-29 Jesus is asked "What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to
believe in the one he has sent."
Further: In 1 John 1:9 it says; "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all
3. THERE IS DELIGHT IN THE HEART OF GOD WHEN PEOPLE TURN TO HIM FOR SALVATION
One of the things that we have learned repeatedly in our march through the Old Testament and the whole Bible, is this: God
delights in saving sinners. It brings joy to the heart of God when people repent of their sins, humble themselves before Him,
and render Him the worship, reverence, and honour that He is due.
In Zephaniah 3:17 it says of the Lord, who in chapter 3 is portrayed as purifying the wicked from Jerusalem and lifting and
comforting the humble and the righteous; "The LORD your God is with you, he is might to save. He will take great delight in
you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing/shouts of joy."
While the primary context refers to God's joy over his purified people who will one day follow Him from their hearts-- the
application refers to all who do so in Christ.
Such reminds me of Jesus when he taught the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Each concludes with a
message about the angels in Heaven rejoicing over sinners who repent. (Luke 15)
The day of judgment is coming.
If you are not right with God, do not delay in being reconciled to Him. Call upon the name of Christ now, in faith and
Here's some great news: There is a way to escape the coming day of wrath.
As God provided an escape for Noah and his family, so God has made a way to hidden and sheltered from the coming Day--
The shelter is Christ and his shed blood for the forgiveness of sins-- guaranteed by his resurrection from the dead
For all who turn to God, there is joy in His heart over them.