This concluding part of our study of Zephaniah was given by pastor Barry Forder at Calvary Chapel Portsmouth on 19th March 2022.
In Chapter 2, Zephaniah lays out the coming judgment upon the gentile nations surrounding Israel, for two key reasons: 1) they had not been content with the land allotted to them by the Lord and had wanted more – at Israel’s expense, 2) they had treated Israel cruelly and provoked God’s wrath.
In chapter 3, the attention turns once more to Israel’s leaders, who were given ample opportunity to change their ways, yet continued in immorality and injustice. God reminds them He had been in their midst all along and seen everything they had done, now it was time to give account!
Then Zephaniah zooms out to show that what took place in 606 B.C. and the following years, was a dress rehearsal for the ‘main event’ that is due to be played out on the world’s stage any moment now!
Just as God had judged the gentile nations in Zephaniah’s day, so He will gather all the nations of the world together as sheep and goats. Those who have treated Israel well, will be granted the joy of entering the millennial kingdom of Jesus. Those who have treated Israel with contempt will be destroyed, just as Philistia, Edom, Assyria and Babylon were long ago.
Zephaniah ends with a wonderful song of praise to the God who faithfully kept His word to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give their descendants the land of Israel as a possession forever. The dispersed of Judah will return to their land from all the nations they had been driven to. There will be peace, healing, justice and joy. God will rule over the house of Israel and they, through their affliction, will come to the place of loving and serving their God and Messiah.
May you be blessed and encouraged by the faithfulness of our covenant-keeping God!