October 12

Zephaniah 1:1-2:3

We are in the Exile Stream reading from the International Standard Version.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, you are never done calling us back to you.  Your love is relentless and greater than we can understand.  Thank you for your love.  Amen.

Zephaniah was a great mover/shaker in the reformation we read of in II Chron. 34.  People in the western hemisphere more readily call such developments a revival. But Zephaniah was a contemporary of Josiah’s reforms. The succession was King Hezekiah (good king), his son Manasseh (wretched king), his grandson Josiah (a good king).  Josiah did great things for God’s Name and glory.  It helped slow the tide of the inevitable from Manasseh’s 55 years of horrible lust for blood and demonic activity …activity that he executed WITHIN the city of Jerusalem.  So, at any rate, Josiah is turning things aright again, and Zephaniah is right there with him.  We notice that “The Day of The Lord” is mentioned 10 times in today’s reading.  And Zephaniah isn’t done using the phrase.  It’s sort of a phrase related to … well, how many of you, when you were being a bit of a rascal, your mother grew exasperated finally to assure you there was trouble at sundown. The phrase she would say was, “wait until your father gets home!”  That was a misbehaving child’s version of “The Day of the Lord.”  When Zephaniah uses it here however, it had national insinuation, and a historical proportion to it. This “Day of the Lord” changed everything.  It wasn’t just a momentary ‘heat on the seat’ to curb and correct behavior.

1 – Zephaniah is verbally letting loose on Judah.  His parallel work with King Josiah was notable.  Josiah was among the best of kings to serve in the southern kingdom.  He was 15th of the 19 rulers to serve between the northern kingdom splitting off and the Babylonian/Chaldeans swooping in to crush the city of Jerusalem and the southern kingdom of Judah [the rest of the way] along with it.  [btw, of the 19, 11 were bad and 8 were on the good side of things.]  As Zephaniah is writing to the southern kingdom, he and Josiah are in a sense slowing the desperate leaking, so to speak, of a ship that was badly battered by the prior kings; Manasseh & Amon.  They do their best to recover what remains of godliness in the land, but the inevitable is on its way.  The initial invasion of Babylon, the second strike, and the final blow of 586 B.C. -all this- would happen within 20 years.  The terror of Babylonian soldiers pounding through with one plan: [level all of it!] was a picture that haunted the known world at the time. Some in Jerusalem thought they would be spared for they were “the chosen”.  Well that is as silly as an only child thinking he is going to get the whole inheritance, all to himself, for he’s THE ONE. So in his thinking he’s free to be a hellion.  Well there have been plenty of arrogant children who think they can act up all they want for they are irreversibly special.  ‘Not the case kiddos!
The Day of the Lord was coming for Judah. He would sweep the place clean. None would be unaffected. No one could buy their way out. The religious, the merchants, laborers, the wealthy – they all “have it coming”. God wanted Baal out!  And since most embraced Baal, they would be carried out with the rest of the pagan trash!  It wasn’t going to be a pretty sight.  The mood of gloom despair and agony, deep dark depression and excessive misery (remember Hee-Haw? in the 1970s) was not a country song back when.  This however was a real nightmare. It was set to happen, it was irreversible, since virtually all of Judah was irreversibly committed to sinning.  Remember they had just spent most of two whole generations sacrificing young infants (Hebrew babies!) to the satanic god Molech.
2:1-3 –  And yet they are urged to humble themselves and pray.  Who knows, maybe God would be kind enough to selectively spare them when the enemy army rushes in. For God can do anything with a humble heart.

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