The latest in our ongoing look at the Minor Prophets.
Zephaniah is one of the last prophetic voices crying out before the fall of Judah to the Babylonians. He tells us in the very first verse that he is of royal blood and he uses that platform to deliver a sober message of the impending judgment. His words likely date to the period just before Josiah's sweeping reforms and he may have had an influence on the young king.
- In world politics, with the shift in the balance of power from Assyria to Babylon, Judah's days were numbered. Especially in Chapter 1, note how many times the phrase "day of the Lord" or "that day" is used. What will the day be like? As with many prophecies there are often near term and long-term fulfillments. Do you notice any items that fit with our contemporary situation or have yet to be fulfilled?
- In chapter 2 four nations are specifically mentioned and in the beginning of chapter 3 Jerusalem is the focus. What sins are listed as being the cause of judgment? What remedy does God propose? Do we still deal with the sins mentioned here, either individually or as a society? Can Zephaniah's remedies be applied?
- God never delivers a message of judgment without also emphasizing hope and restoration. What words of hope are mixed in the prophecy? (The latter half of chapter 3 focuses on God's faithfulness and restoration.)