"I will completely remove all things From the face of the earth," declares the LORD.Zephaniah 1:2(NASB)
Our holy God is a God of love, but He is also a God of righteousness and justice, and all sin must be punished. The Lord determined in His heart to execute judgement over all the earth and the prophecy of Zephaniah spells out, in graphic detail, the approaching doom for ungodly Gentile nations. He also details the terrors pronounced over Jerusalem because of their unbelief, their refusal to turn from sin, their rebellious attitude towards God, and the sacrilegious practices of their prophets, priests, people, and leaders.
Little is known of Zephaniah, except that he was the son of Cushi and traced his regal ancestry back to good king Hezekiah. He used the phrase: "Day of the Lord," seven times in his writings and paints a dark and gloomy picture of a time when God's wrath will be poured out on a God-hating sinful world that has rejected His anointed Messiah, refused His offer of salvation, and defiantly celebrates sin.
Despite a few attempts by godly leaders to turn the people back to righteousness by worshipping the true and living God, the inevitable decline and dispersion of the nation and the shocking prophecies of doom and destruction in the "Day of the Lord," flood through the pen of this prophet - to the deaf ears of a defiant and disobedient nation.
Zephaniah vividly portrays the coming destruction of the earth when God will stretch out His hand against Judea, Jerusalem, and wicked nations of the world. He swore in His wrath to remove birds from the air, fish from the sea, and both man and beast from off the face of the earth: "I will completely remove all things from the face of the earth, declares the LORD."
Although the message was written and delivered by the hand of a human herald, the awesome content of his book was received directly from the Lord - for all Scripture is living, active, and inspired of God. The Word of the Lord, through the pen of Zephaniah - and all the prophets, cannot be broken and stands fast for ever and ever.
Although many of the stern warnings in his short book were fulfilled when the southern kingdom of Judah was finally swept into Babylonian slavery, the ultimate and final fulfilment is yet future: "The Day of the Lord's wrath," will be poured out during the 70th week of Daniel - that future "Time of Jacob's Trouble," when the full force of God's wrath and anger will be spewed out on a world that rejected His Son and refused to be saved by grace through faith.
Our awesome God of righteousness and justice is also an amazing God of love and mercy - a God of goodness and grace. His punishment of sin is just and righteous altogether, and there is a wonderful purpose in His retribution - the restoration of His nation Israel, the resurrection of myriad of His saints, and the 1000-year reign of His appointed Messiah when righteousness and peace will kiss one another and the earth will be filled with the glory of God.
YES, despite his prophecies of doom and destruction, Zephaniah concludes his inspired writings with a promise of the restoration of Gentile nations, the reinstatement of Israel as His chosen inheritance, the redemption of His people, Israel, and the return of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as God of gods, King of kings, and Lord of the eternal ruler of heaven and earth.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the inspired Scriptures which are living, powerful, and cannot be broken. Thank You for the prophecies of holy men of God, like Zephaniah, warning us of the wrath to come. I am so thankful that You provided a way for me to be saved, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I praise You that Your plan of redemption will finally come to fruition and all believing Israel will be redeemed and restored for Your greater honour and glory. Help me not to become complacent about the wrath that is to come on this God-hating, Christ-rejecting, sinful world, but to share the good news of the gospel of grace with as many as I can so that many more would come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and be plucked from the brands. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.