Zephaniah’s name means “the Lord has treasured/hidden”. He prophesied to Judah for 19years. He influenced King Josiah to turn the nation back to God.
Zephaniah the prophet was not afraid to speak truth to those in power, which is especially remarkable considering his royal pedigree.
Other prophets had introduced themselves by identifying their fathers – and maybe even their grandfathers. But, Zephaniah felt the need to trace 4 generations of ancestors in his introduction – and for good reason. Zephaniah’s great-grandfather was Hezekiah, one of Judah’s most celebrated kings. Linking himself back to good king Hezekiah helped bring Zephaniah instant credibility.
It also connected him very closely to his audience. Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of Josiah, great-grandson of Hezekiah… and the last good king of Judah. In other words, Zephaniah and Josiah were relatives. This fact made Zephaniah’s prophecy against Judah – and “the king’s sons” in particular – even more daring (Zeph. 1:4-8).
Zephaniah described an imminent judgment, which he called “the day of the Lord” (Zeph. 1:14, for example). It was to be a day on which nothing could save the people of Judah – or “all who live on the earth” for that matter (Zeph. 1:18).
But, Zephaniah also spoke of hope – of a day when the people’s lips would be purified and would once again call on God (Zeph. 3:9). By this time, Jerusalem’s fate had been sealed. But, maybe Zephaniah took heart at Josiah’s reforms and was able to foresee a day when God would once again take “great delight” in His people (Zeph. 3:17).
I. The Grievous Days (Zeph. 1:1—3:8)
– The First Grievous Day (1:1-13; 2:1-15; 3:1-5)
– The Second Grievous Day (1:14-118; 3:6-8)
II. The Glorious Day (Zeph. 3:9-20)
Zechariah’s message was clear: God will judge and punish His people for their disobedience, but He will also show mercy to those who are faithful to Him.
That message is still true today.
Many Christians ride a spiritual rollercoaster… falling away from God, then returning to Him in worship to serve Him when they get into trouble.
But, the Bible teaches that troubles in our lives often serve as an opportunity for God to get our attention. He loves us… and wants to purify us so we can serve Him.
You can read Zephaniah’s story in the Old Testament book of Zephaniah, named after him.