ZEPHANIAH | JEHOVAH HIDES

Walking With Giants : Major Messages from Minor Prophets  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  51:43
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ZEPHANIAH | JEHOVAH HIDES

There are 12 books that have been given this title of “Minor Prophets”
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi
These 12 books cover a period of roughly 400 years.
INTRO: The book written by Zephaniah was written some time around the same time as Habakkuk.
Some place it’s writing before Habakkuk while others put his writing after.
Either way, we know that he is dealing with the same nation Judah that both Habakkuk and Jeremiah were writing to.
He is pronouncing the same coming judgment that we read about last week at the hands of the Chaldeans.
Following a brief introduction in v.1, Zephaniah jumps directly into the pronouncement of judgment upon the nation of Judah.
God says in v.2, Zephaniah 1:2
Zephaniah 1:2 KJV 1900
2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord.
Once again, we are reminded that the coming judgment at the hands of the Babylonians would be total and absolute.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing this prophesied judgment so we wont rehash what we have already discussed aside from pointing to the fact that their would be no relief outside of the Lord.
Zephaniah 1:17–18 KJV 1900
17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the Lord: And their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them In the day of the Lord’s wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: For he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
As we come to those first 3 verses if ch.2 though, we once again find the mercy and longsuffering of God being shown.

2:1-3, THE HIDING PLACE OF THE LORD

Zephaniah 2:1–3 KJV 1900
1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, Before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, Which have wrought his judgment; Seek righteousness, seek meekness: It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.
God doesn’t leave the nation of Judah hopeless.
Last week we saw the promise in Habakkuk 2:4
Habakkuk 2:4 KJV 1900
4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: But the just shall live by his faith.
Now as we come to these verses in chapter 2, God comes to the nation and encourages them that before the day of judgment arrives, they could seek the Lord!
And in doing so, they could find comfort during God’s judgment
To hide with the Lord in the day of God’s judgment
Zephaniah’s name means, “Jehovah hides.”
Many believe the Zephaniah was most likely born during the reign of the wicked king Manasseh.
We mentioned last week about the early start to the reign of the godly kind Josiah at 8 years old.
But Josiah’s father, Manasseh, also had an early start as king at 12 year old.
We find the account of Manasseh’s leadership in 2 Chronicles 33:2-6
2 Chronicles 33:2–6 KJV 1900
2 But did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. 3 For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4 Also he built altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
As they would sacrifice their children to their false Gods, it would have been a fearful time to have a child.
If Zephaniah’s parents were the godly parents it appears they were, they most like hid their child from danger of becoming a sacrifice to the false god’s of their day!
Now as Zephaniah reflects back on the mercy and protection of God when he was a child, he gives this message from the Lord to those in Judah, letting them know even in the midst of God’s judgment, there is hiding place in the presence of God!
APPLICATION: Aren’t you grateful that no matter what you are facing in life, you can find a hiding place in the Lord!
ILLUSTRATION: When we play hide and seek at home, Jayce and Kynoa have gotten good at hiding.
Half the time we can’t even find Jayce.
Jaxon is the smallest and could probably fit into the best hiding spots.
But he is always the easiest to find… because he wants to hid with Tressa or I.
In the dark, his favorite place to hide is right next to one of us.
It’s safe and it’s comforting.
APPLICATION: This world that we are living in can make you feel anxious.
We talked last week about how Habakkuk admitted that he felt afraid.
There are so many things that can cause us to worry today.
Some are controlled by this worry and anxiousness… it dictates your entire life!
But there is a wonderful truth we can be reminded of here in Zephaniah… that you can find comfort in the hiding place of the Lord.
ILLUSTRATION: In Exodus 33, Moses asked the Lord to reveal His glory to him.
Exodus 33:19–22 KJV 1900
19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
God told Moses there is a place beside me that is safe in the clift of a rock!
It’s a place where you will be safe… where you will experience my presence.
APPLICATION: How can a person go through pain and suffering.
How can a person face persecution and condemnation.
How can someone face hurt and sadness
And yet still find comfort in the Lord?
They have found a place by the Lord, that no matter what may come, they can remain content with Him!
Where do you run to when the trials and difficulties of life come?
Where will you go in the face of persecution and difficulty?
It’d be good to discover that hiding place with the Lord today, so when difficulty comes, you know were to run to!
Because the reality is, we probably wont alway enjoy the freedoms we are enjoying today.
Never in history has there ever been a time in which such religious liberties were available.
Never in history has it been easier to be a Christian
Never in history has it been easier to take the Gospel into this world.
But there may neither have been a time in history when apathy and complacency was more common than the day we live in.
You say, when you don’t have to make a choice to stand or to bow, it’s easy to do neither.
Sure you may not be bowing to some idol
You may not be worshipping some satanic ritual
You may not be sacrificing your children to the fires like they did in the days of Manasseh.
But you haven’t truly had to take a stance against it either!
And in the midst of the ease of the Christian life here in the 21st century we have stopped running to God, because we don’t need to!
Unless you are dealing with some medical problem or have a major problem with a family member, you don’t even have a reason to go to God.
But there is coming a day in which we may not be able to enjoy religious freedoms we do today.
To obey the Bible will be to break the law!
2 Timothy 3:1–5 KJV 1900
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
In the midst of this world Paul wrote to Timothy
2 Timothy 3:12 KJV 1900
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
And Christian, you can mark it down that those days are coming… and it would be good today if you found your way to the hiding place in the presence of God where there is comforting.
No it doesn’t mean that you will be exempt from the trials and persecutions.
But when they come, you will be close to the one that gives you comfort through what you will face!
EXPLANATION: Zephaniah was reminded of that wonderful promise, Jehovah hides!
And Zephaniah knew what it meant to be in that hiding place next to his Lord.

2:4-3:7, GOD’S DEMONSTRATION OF JUDGMENT

EXPLANATION: God begins to share with Zephaniah similar to how he did with Habakkuk, how he would bring judgment on those who have turned against God
v.4-7, Judgment on the Cherethites (Philistia)
v.8-11, Judgment on the Moabites and Ammonites
v.12, Judgment on the Ethiopians
v.13-15, Judgment on the Assyrians
Then he comes to chapter 3 and he brings it back home
v.1-7, He pronounces the judgment upon Jerusalem.
Zephaniah 3:2 KJV 1900
2 She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; She trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.
They rejected the voice and work of the Lord
Zephaniah 3:3–4 KJV 1900
3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; Her judges are evening wolves; They gnaw not the bones till the morrow. 4 Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: Her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.
It was the leaders of the Judah who had turned their back on God
Princes, Judges, Prophets, and Priests.
v.7 is an interesting verse
Zephaniah 3:7 KJV 1900
7 I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; So their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: But they rose early, and corrupted all their doings.
God says, “Surely with all the works and judgments of God, Judah would turn to Him.”
But their response is found at the end of the verse… “They arose early, and corrupted all their doings.”
When the invitation to make things right was given, they turned and went back to their old ways.
APPLICATION: Many this sounds familiar.
When is the last time you responded to the voice of the Lord?
When is the last time you surrendered you life to him.
Not just figuratively, but you actually were willing to lay down your hobbies and enjoyment on the altar of the Lord?
When is the last time you actually heard the Word of God and it changes something in your life.
ILLUSTRATION: People falling in the pond at camp in Indiana because it was covered by moss.
They realized that the pond was dangerous because of all the moss that would grow on it.
So they tore out the pond!
APPLICATION: For so many Christians, they have become little more than a pond with scum covering it.
And when you try to live the Christian life that way, it is dangerous.
Nothing is flowing in from the Lord, and nothing is flowing out for the Lord.
It’s time to tear out the pond!
Wake up and determine today not just to live a Christian life that leaves no impact for the cause of Christ.
How sad it is that most Christian will live their entire life for nothing that is actually worth living for!
We have become so good at burying our talents and our treasures that the Lord has given us and one day you will enter into heaven because He forgave your sins.
But you will be broken and ashamed because you did nothing on this earth that mattered one ounce for eternity.
Do you want to hear “well done thou good and faithful servant?”
You may be able to skim by at your job at work and fool the boss
You may be able to play pretend and fool this pastor
You might even be able to play the game and fool your spouse.
But God sees things the way they really are.
Galatians 6:7–10 KJV 1900
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Well, if you feel beat up this morning, let’s end things on a positive note.

3:8-20, GOD’S PROMISE TO THE FAITHFUL

EXPLANATION: Zephaniah is given a glimpse from the Lord into the future.
God begins to share with Zephaniah what the faithful to Him have to look forward to.
Zephaniah 3:8 KJV 1900
8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, Until the day that I rise up to the prey: For my determination is to gather the nations, That I may assemble the kingdoms, To pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: For all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
God gives the eschatological preview of what is going to happen on the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming of Christ, the Battle of Armageddon.
All the enemies of the Lord will be gathered together to battle the Lord… and God will wipe them out.
It says He will devour them!
God guarantees total victory!
The wicked will be defeated, evil will be abolished, sin will be ended!
I love what one preacher said, “At salvation you were delivered from the penalty of sin! Each day you are delivered from the power of sin! And one day you will be delivered from the very presence of sin!”
That is what we find here!
We find that there will be a unity of the people like never before around one common goal: Zephaniah 3:9
Zephaniah 3:9 KJV 1900
9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, That they may all call upon the name of the Lord, To serve him with one consent.
All people, with one voice, in one language, with one goal… praising God and serving Him!
Things wont always be the way they are today… one day we will all be serving Him willingly, so it might be good to get a head start and begin serving Him now!

CONCLUSION

APPLICATION: As Zephaniah is finishing his book, he writes a final response from us and a promise from God
Zephaniah 3:14 KJV 1900
14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; Be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
Everything has been looking forward… someday...
But in v.14 he writes in the present tense… “Sing, Shout, Be Glad, Rejoice”
In light of what God has done, in light of what He is going to do… respond to Him now!
Lift your voice to Him and about Him now!
Zephaniah 3:15 KJV 1900
15 The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: The king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: Thou shalt not see evil any more.
From the Lord’s perspective, it is as good as done!
He’s already one!
1 Corinthians 15:55–58 KJV 1900
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
We wont just enjoy victory someday… We have victory today!
1 John 4:4 KJV 1900
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
The final verse we will look at as we conclude is v.17: Zephaniah 3:17
Zephaniah 3:17 KJV 1900
17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Our God is mighty
Our God has saved us
Our God rejoices over us
Our God loves us
Our God sings because of us.
I don’t know if God is a bass, a tenor, a baritone… I’m pretty sure He can hit every note.
Friend, let’s give God something wonderful to sing about!
I’m probably stretching things a bit, but maybe just maybe, your life is writing the lyrics for your song.
And one day God will sing the song about your life and the life you lived for him.
If that is the case… how long would your song be.
Would there be a verse of how you were saved
A verse of how you gave your life to him
A verse of how He was able to use you in the lives of others.
What would God be able to sing about your life?
Maybe today would be a good time to start writing some new verses in the song of your life for God!
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