Formations Lesson for February 14- Rejoice!
February 2 2010 by DuPre Sanders, pastor, Roxboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Zephaniah 3:8-20 

As we conclude our series of lessons from the Minor Prophets, the writings of Zephaniah contain components similar to the others: the announcement of a coming judgment for sin; a call to repentance because God is just and desires to forgive; and a promise that the remnant who make God their refuge will be saved.

Zephaniah communicates his message with picturesque language, describing the wrath of God as well as the love of God. He sees God traveling the streets of Jerusalem with a lantern in order to find and punish the unholy (1:12). His prophecy that describes “the Day of the Lord” is arresting: “....a day of wrath, of distress and anguish, of trouble and ruin, of darkness and gloom, of clouds and blackness, of trumpet and battle cry….” (Zephaniah 1:15-16a).

The repetitive use of the term “the Day of the Lord” indicates that the Book of Zephaniah contains a message about the end times when the righteous will be rewarded and the unholy punished.

Although Zephaniah’s message has future significance, Judah and the neighboring nations awaited an immediate fulfillment of the prophecies. Beginning with Assyria, the judgments were fulfilled in a few years, when the temple was completely destroyed and the Jews were carried into Babylonian captivity.

Zephaniah’s prophecy certainly included judgment for the sin of the people, but it also included hope: ‘“At that time I will gather you;….I will bring you home. I will give honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord’ (Zephaniah 3:20). I remember the words of my homiletics professor in seminary, Dr. Chevis Horne, as he spoke to a class of future preachers: “Always preach the truth of scripture, but never end the sermon without offering the hope of Christ.”

The significance of the name Zephaniah (“the one whom Jehovah has chosen”) has a relationship with the ministry of Jesus. Jesus said, “I tell you that…there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7). Zephaniah offers the figure of a joyful redeemer: “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 (Zephaniah 3:17).

When the divine work of redemption is done in the life of an individual, God Himself breaks forth in singing and rejoicing. Therefore, let us rejoice!
2/2/2010 6:10:00 AM by DuPre Sanders, pastor, Roxboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments

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