Survey of the Bible - Zephaniah

Text: Zephaniah 2:1-3


I.         About the Book

            A.        Unlike many of the other minor prophets, Zephaniah is not hard to place in history.

            B.        He is a great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah, living and prophesying during the days of Josiah - Zephaniah 1:1

                        1.         The destruction of Nineveh is still a future event - Zephaniah 2:13

                        2.         That took place in the last few years of Josiah’s life.

                        3.         Josiah worked hard to reform Judah, so the list of sins taking place in Israel seems to indicate a date early in Josiah’s reign, before the reforms were started.

            C.        His name means “Yahweh has hidden” - Zephaniah 2:3

            D.        He probably lived in Jerusalem because he refers to the city as “this place” - Zephaniah 1:4

            E.        He was a contemporary of Jeremiah, probably coming just before him, and taught in the same city - Jeremiah 1:1-2

II.        Background

            A.        For 55 years Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh, had harshly ruled over Judah – a reign of evil and terror - II Kings 21:1-2, 6

                        1.         So terrible were his murderous ways that it was said that the streets of the capital were awash with blood from one end to the other – II Kings 21:16

                        2.         It took being conquered by an enemy nation to shake Manasseh and he returned to God at a late age - II Chronicles 33:10-13

            B.        When his grandfather died and his father rose to rule at the age of 22, the evil returned in even greater proportions - II Chronicles 33:21-23

                        1.         In just two short years Amon was so hated and despised that his own servants plotted to murder him in the palace - II Chronicles 33:24

            C.        After over 50 years of wickedness conducted by cruel and evil kings, Josiah was crowned king at the age of 8 – II Chronicles 34:1

            D.        It was at the age of 20 that Josiah began his first reforms - II Chronicles 34:3-7

            E.        At the age of 26 he set about to restore the temple and teachings of God - II Chronicles 34:8

            F.        It is likely that Zephaniah’s prophesy was a contributing factor to the change.

III.       Outline

            A.        Judgment - Zephaniah 1:1-3:7

                        1.         God will eventually destroy the whole world - Zephaniah 1:2-3

                                    a.         We understand this - II Peter 3:3-12

                                    b.         Proof of God ability to bring judgment is then proven by some of the judgments He is going to bring about shortly

                        2.         Judgment on Judah - Zephaniah 1:4-2:3

                                    a.         Who God will punish - Zephaniah 1:4-13

                                    b.         What the punishment will be like - Zephaniah 1:14-18

                                    c.         A call to repent - Zephaniah 2:1-3

                        3.         Judgment on the nations around Judah - Zephaniah 2:4-15

                                    a.         Philistia - Zephaniah 2:4-7

                                    b.         Moab and Ammon - Zephaniah 2:8-11

                                    c.         Ethiopia - Zephaniah 2:12

                                    d.         Assyria - Zephaniah 2:13-15

                        4.         Judgment on Jerusalem - Zephaniah 3:1-7

                                    a.         Jerusalem’s injustice - Zephaniah 3:1-4

                                    b.         God’s justice - Zephaniah 3:5

                                    c.         Seeing God’s judgment should have caused a change - Zephaniah 3:6-7

            B.        Salvation - Zephaniah 3:8-20

                        1.         The nations will convert - Zephaniah 3:8-11

                        2.         A remnant of Israel will convert - Zephaniah 3:12-13

                        3.         A time of joy - Zephaniah 3:14-20

IV.      Josiah tried to reform the people but his efforts weren’t enough

            A.        At best, he managed a delay - II Kings 23:25-27

            B.        He got people to do what was right - II Chronicles 34:33

            C.        But Jeremiah points out that it was only obedience on the surface - Jeremiah 3:10

            D.        God wanted to spare, but the people would not make a lasting change.

            E.        Punishment would take place, but it would cause change.

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