The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi. “I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. “I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and the rubble with the wicked. I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. -Zephaniah 1:1a,2-3
We see people in the streets of America rioting, looting, burning down buildings and businesses with Black Lives Matter and Antifa and we see the placards and we hear the chants, “No Justice, No Peace!”. There is an old saying, “Be careful what you ask for”. Justice is an interesting word, because for man, justice for one is injustice for another. And whenever we talk about JUSTICE, there must be a JUDGE! That is what the book of Zephaniah is about, it is about THE DAY OF THE LORD. The ‘Day of the Lord’ refers to the GREAT TRIBULATION, the times written about as God’s judgement of man and of earth. The book of REVELATION should be read by every follower of Jesus Christ, so we can know how God plans to wrap up the Time of the Gentiles and bring in the Millennial Rule. Zephaniah is a book of Love, it is covering the dark side of Love, the side where there are consequences for promises made and commitments broken. It is a cleansing of the past, so we can start anew in our relationship. Dr. J Vernon McGee does a great explanation of this fine book in his, “Through the Bible” tour that can be found at www.ttb.org. He is the one that calls the book of Zephaniah, one of the least read books because of the theme of judgment- as the book of Love, the “Dark side of Love”. He says it is similar to the Gospel of John, the Gospel of Love. It takes a true follower of Jesus Christ to understand this about God’s Righteous, Just, Love!
Leader, Proverbs 13:24 says; Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. Spare the rod and spoil the child- Discipline is necessary for good upbringing, it is what Dr. McGee called, “The Dark side of love”. As the saying goes, if you discipline properly, “This is going to hurt me more, than it hurts you”. As a parent, if we let our children do whatever they want with no consequences, you might end up with kids in the streets disrespecting law enforcement officers, attacking each other, looting, and rioting with little consequence and the burning of our cities in the name of justice. This adage, this truth, this violation of the “law of causality’ is so powerful that it appears in the Bible and made its way into practically every proverb collection. God is truth and you will read in His word the same LAW. “My son do not take lightly the discipline of the Lord, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises every son He receives.” Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you do not experience discipline like everyone else, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Furthermore, we have all had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Should we not much more submit to the Father of our spirits and live? (Hebrews 12:4b-9)
Conduit, Zephaniah is the last of the prophets. He uses the term, “The Day of the Lord”, 7 times in this small book. Judah and Israel had been warned by minor and major prophets for hundreds of years, and there was no change in behavior. When there was a change of behavior, like under king Josiah, it did not last long, and the people went right back to apostasy. The warnings were not heeded, so now the consequences are coming. Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:6-9) The prophet Habakkuk listed The Five Woes Against Society: The first woe; Theft and a Lust for Control. The Second Woe; Greed and Unjust Gain. The Third Woe; Violence (yet with a small glimpse of a better time to come!) The Fourth Woe; Drunkenness, Lust & Corrupting Others. The Fifth and Final Woe – Idolatry. Zephaniah focuses on Idolatry, turning from the True and Living God to other gods. The god of self, pleasure, self-righteousness, fame, fortune, lust, self-gratification…. However, when it comes down to it idolatry is FALSE RELIGION. The fall of America has a lot to do with WE, the church. We have moved away from teaching and learning the FULL GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. We treat Jesus like he is some buddy of ours that loves us no matter what we think, say or do. Whether you have truly accepted Christ, or not- He loves you and we WILL EXPERIENCE the Dark Side of Love! Remember, The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) Repent (change your mind, turn, do something different) for the KINGDOM OF GOD is at hand! But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5