Updated: Feb 25, 2022
Zephaniah was a 7th century BC prophet and as we have seen in the last 2 chapters of this Book, his message condemns Judah’s leadership and calls the people of Judah to repent before the arrival of God’s Day of Judgment.
As a prophetic preacher, he must be a terribly unpopular preacher as almost two third of his book deals with the horrific judgement and destruction and the of the world as they knew then.
Zephaniah pronounces God’s judgment on the kingdom, its wicked political and religious class, and its wealthy citizens who exploited the poor. Judah was blackened with murders, adulteries, oppressions, violent seizures of other people’s properties. People had abandoned God, they were haughty, insolent and rejecting His plan for their lives and contented with plunging headlong in search of their own destiny. They pursued their own interests with scant or no regard for God. A society in that state is a horrible place to live in.
The first 3 verses aptly describe the sad state of affairs:
Woe to the city of oppressors
Rebellious and defiled!
She obeys no one, she accepts no correction;
She does not trust in the Lord
She does not draw near to God
Her officials are roaring Lions
Her rulers are evening wolves
Who leave nothing for the morning
Zephaniah’s message of doom brought despair until at the end of his message when he offers new hope which brings singing and rejoicing to the remnants of Israel and those who repented. Judah’s sins were forgiven and will no longer be dominated by their enemies. The King of Israel is with them, never again will they fear any harm.
In vs 15, it says :
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
Imagine the dramatic change from destruction and hopelessness in a spiritual crisis to a promise of salvation from judgement, all because of God’s love. This promise of hope also speaks to us. Today God offers the same love. We may have a miserable past but God’s promise brings hope for the future.
A/P Lee Fook Choon