Friday, November 6, 2009


When Prophet Zephaniah saw those words flashing through his mind, he stood up from his kneeling position, put his whole trust in the Lord. Judah had been a pain to him ever since King Manasseh took over from King Hezekiah. The southern nation had plunged headlong into religious chaos! God’s chosen ones had once again bowed to Baals and made Asherah poles for worship. Manasseh even sacrificed his sons to the fire, practising sorcery, divination and witchcrafts, and worshipped all the starry hosts! When he was captured by the Assyrians and then repented, God in his amazing grace, bestowed mercy on him. Although the ruler restored some semblance of Yahweh worship but sins had already snowballed. No thanks to his son, King Amon, the nation continued to slide downhill.

“Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm,” Zephaniah spoke passionately. God had begun turning his prophets beyond present Israel and Judah and had them focussed on the final days. The King of Israel would be the Messiah, prophesied to rule supreme. Jerusalem would fear no more! What a comfort indeed to those righteous ones who had not soiled their garments to idolatry and immorality.

The prophets of late knew that God’s wrath would eventually come upon this darkened nation, a nation that supposed to shine. Yet deep in the heart of prophet Zephaniah, he hoped and prayed for mercy of God for his beloved Judah. “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger,” he cried. Perhaps, he saw something in young King Josiah, the son of wicked King Amon who might yet turn things around.

To Zephaniah, all other ungodly nations might not understand the covenant of Yahweh but not Judah! In fact, God ordered him to prophesy against the surrounding nations, especially Assyria whom cruelty was well-known. His contemporary, prophet Nahum had already prophesied Nineveh’s doom. The nations might have heard of the voices of the prophets but they couldn’t care less. But Judah had no excuse for ignorance! They had a covenant with God. Could Jerusalem escape God’s coming wrath? The destruction that had crushed the northern kingdom previously made prophet Zephaniah feared the worst!

“That Day” was the favourite theme of Zephaniah’s prophetic ministry. “The great day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly,” the prophet proclaimed. “Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end to all who live in the earth,” he added without mincing his words. Zephaniah’s God would have a final say on the earth! The prophet looked on with hope for the future of Jerusalem. “At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honour and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes," says the LORD.

God would eventually restore Jerusalem! If not today, then it would be “that day”.

What will Prophet Zephaniah say to us if he were still alive today?
1. The righteous will triumph in the midst of chaos!
2. God gives grace to the humble but humbles the proud.
3. The nations can twist and turn but God will have the final say.
4. Let the wicked repent before the wrath of God pours!
5. The future of the righteous is not only secure but they will have a place in the future plan of God!
Next: Prophet Jeremiah


  1. God had begun turning his prophets beyond present Israel and Judah and had them focussed on the final days.

    When the Lord closes the door to change present circumstances, it is indeed time to look ahead. I appreciate this observation. Thank you for the post.

  2. Tks Anne! I appreciate your comments!