Zephaniah 1

DateVersionReading Plan
@December 8, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • The Coming Judgment on Judah
  • The Day of the Lord is Near


Zephaniah was a prophet of royal lineage (the great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah) and spoke of the coming day of the LORD where Judah would fall to Babylon. The LORD’s opening words of judgment are of utmost intensity, “’I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth,’ declares the LORD.” (Zeph. 1:2). Man, beast, birds of the heavens, fish of the sea, rubble of the wicked…all will be swept away; a statement more comprehensive than Noah’s flood (Gen. 6:7, which mentions no fish). Every remnant of idolatry will be cut off and the syncretistic practices of worshiping both God and other gods will be ended. The LORD had prepared a sacrifice (Judah) for the guests (Babylon) to eat. The drunken and complacent will be punished because they show Him no regard. God would bring distress on mankind because they had sinned against Him and “In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed” (Zeph. 1:18)

This is a sobering chapter to be felt as it is read, to gain a substantive sense of God’s power, might and righteous anger against sin and wickedness. Such visceral language of God’s burning jealousy. Judah’s destruction by the Babylonians would be thorough, but this also points to a future day of Jesus’ second advent. The day of the LORD will be universally terrible for all who do not place their faith solely in Christ. Every instance of sin will be eradicated and only those clothed in Christ’s righteousness will remain. To this crushing reality we respond in praise that a Savior has come. Condescending not because of our worth but as an outpouring of His grace, “taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:7-8)

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