MINING IN ZEPHANIAH! Part 1
The other day I had breakfast with an older gentleman whom I have known for the last few years only. He is retired and in the quieter time of life where he can enjoy his accomplishments and his family. He has been a Christian for many years and every time I meet him he stops me and inquires about my family and I. His gentle way and conversation always blesses me and often is punctuated by him sharing a verse or thought from scripture, which touches me immensely. He quoted a verse found in the Old Testament found in the book of Zephaniah. Yes there is a book called by that name in the Minor Prophets. I will put a little background here for you and then make some points regarding the verse my older friend quoted to me.
The following information is quoted from Arend Remmers:
ˇ§The name of Zephaniah means, ˇ§treasured (protected, hidden) of Jehovahˇ¨. Zephaniah is the only prophet to mention four generations of his ancestors. Many scientists think that his forefather Hizkiah is identical with king Hezekiah of Judah of the same name (716 ˇV 687 BC). According to his own indication in chap. 1:1 Zephaniah ministered in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah (640 ˇV 609 BC). The time in between seems rather short for four generations but on the other hand his special royal descent could be a reason for this genealogy. This is also confirmed by Jewish tradition.
Zephaniah lived in the capital of Jerusalem (compare with chap. 1:22.214.171.124) and had admission to the court. The prophets Nahum, Habakkuk and Jeremiah were his contemporaries. From chap. 2:13 one can conclude that Zephaniah must have prophesied before the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC. Many scientists believe Zephaniah to have prophesied even before king Josiahˇ¦s reformation. The reformation started in Josiahˇ¦s 18 th year which was around 622 BC. This assumption is supported by references such as Zeph. 1:4-6.8-9.12; 3:1-3.7. It is possible that Zephaniah through his ministry was the author of king Josiahˇ¦s and the peopleˇ¦s return to God (compare 2 Kings 22 ˇV 23; 2 Chron. 34 ˇV 35). There had already been a return to Jehovah under king Hezekiah but all good things had been lost again by the godless reigns of Manasseh and Amon.
Zephaniah is a prophet of judgment. He prophesies of the imminent devastation of the land of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem because of Judahˇ¦s injustice, hypocrisy and idolatry (chap. 1). This prophecy was fulfilled in 586 BC. This is why the faithful remnant is called to seek Jehovah when the nations near and far will feel Jehovahˇ¦s vengeance (chap. 2). The actual corrupted state of things stands in contrast to the future blessings of the people as described in chapter 3.ˇ¨ (end quote)
The verse I would like to key in on is found in Zephaniah 3:17 and it says the following: ˇ§The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
I have five points, this week we will deal with the first two.
The first phrase is ˇ§The Lord your God is with youˇ¨ ; this describes Godˇ¦s PRESCENCE. The children of Israel knew this to be true in their lives, God had been faithful and consistently there throughout the times of blessing, exile and spiritual departure. He had dealt with them harshly but had always desired to bless them and bring them back to Himself. As for us we can certainly enjoy Godˇ¦s presence on a consistent basis, which is through His word and His Spirit, who lives within the heart of every believer. The Presence of God is a comfort and something that we often feel in a palpable way when things are difficult or we feel cold in heart and even when we come back to God in our own times of departure.
The second phrase in this verse is ˇ§he is mighty to saveˇ¨ This describes Godˇ¦s POWER. He is able to save us from the punishment of sin, and eternal separation from God. When we accepted Christ it just isnˇ¦t insurance for us so that we will get to heaven, but also to live a life that has purpose and lead a life that is forgiven. Added to this an intimate and growing relationship with God. Godˇ¦s power to save a soul is because of His sacrifice for sin at the cross and victory over sin in His life. The victory over death is found in that fact that He arose from the dead and today we can serve a risen Savior. His power displays His omnipotence, His omniscience and omnipresence. Nobody else matches that.
Next week will be the conclusion of the last three points.
By: Pastor David Jones