Around 630 B.C.
The typical introduction returns in Zephaniah, as the opening verse tells us that this is the word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi… in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, the king of Judah. Given the presence of Baal worship, this is probably before the restoration of the Temple in Josiah’s 18th year, and may have contributed to Judah’s repentance.
Any comfort ends there, however, for the LORD’s first declaration is that “I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth.” Moreover, “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens, those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom, those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him."
I’ve noted before that each of these twelve prophets typically has one theme that they follow or charge to make, and Zephaniah’s is obviously about the folly of trusting other gods, or wealth, or Judah’s neighbors – none of which can be counted on for protection. For, as has already been established, it is the LORD who ultimately punishes. Listen carefully as the LORD spirals around this theme.
But in chapter 3 the LORD draws a distinction between Jerusalem’s fickle, treacherous prophets, her priests who profane what is holy, and do violence to the law, and Himself, who alone is righteous; He does no injustice. “Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD, for …the great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast.
Our verse for this week is Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
The prophet Zephaniah. Now let’s read it!
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,