“‘The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
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He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.’” (Zeph. 3:17, NIV).
In the closing section of his book (Zeph. 3:9-20), Zephaniah turns from a theme of anger to one of restoration. Beyond the judgment, we come to God’s ultimate goals. When the nations have been disciplined, they will together call on [...]
A Chinese proverb says that the darkest spot in the room is located right under the candle.
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This proverb could be applied to the moral state of Jerusalem in Zephaniah’s time. The prophet just has completed the pronouncement of divine judgments on Judah’s neighboring countries (see Zephaniah 2) such as Philistia in the west, Moab and Ammon in the east, Cush in the south, and Assyria in the east. Yet, he does not stop there. He [...]
In Zephaniah 2:1-3, we see the prophet’s call to repentance.
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Even though the destruction is imminent, there is still time to be sheltered from calamity, but only if the nation will repent. The wicked who refuse to repent will be consumed on the day of judgment like chaff. In Psalm 1:4 the wicked are also likened to chaff and, in the end, they perish.
With the words “Seek the Lord,” Zephaniah is encouraging those who humble themselves before God [...]
The focal point of Zephaniah’s message is the “day of the Lord” (Zeph. 1:7).
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For biblical prophets, the day of the Lord refers to a specific period of time in which God intervenes in human affairs in order both to save and to judge. Most people in ancient Israel believed that on this day the Lord would save and exalt Israel while the enemy nations would be destroyed forever. To the great surprise of those [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: Zeph. 1:14-18, Joel 2:1-11, Zeph. 2:1-3, Isa. 11:4, Zeph. 3:1-5, Isa. 62:5, Nahum 1-3.
Memory Text: “The Lord will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations” (Zephaniah 2:11, NKJV).
Key Thought: Judgment is coming; but grace and mercy are still available for those who earnestly seek for it.
If the books of the prophets were placed in chronological order, Zephaniah’s would fit between [...]
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
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though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; . . . Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; he will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” (Hab. 3:17-19, NKJV). What is [...]
Read Habakkuk 3.
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What is Habakkuk doing there, and why is that so important, especially given the tough circumstances and difficult questions he is facing?
Habakkuk expresses his acceptance of God’s ways in a prayer set to music (Hab. 3:19). Being fully aware of God’s power, he asks the Lord to remember His mercy when the judgment begins. The prophet reverently recalls reports of God’s great acts in the past and is praying to Him to bring [...]
God’s answer to Habakkuk’s question in Habakkuk 1:17, as recorded in chapter 2, continues in the form of a song that mocks the proud oppressor.
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No less than five woes (Hab. 2:6, 9, 12, 15, 19) affirm the message that Babylon’s doom is sealed. The punishment on the enemy will be in accordance with the “measure for measure” principle. What the wicked do to their victims will, in the end, be done to them. They will reap what they sow, [...]
In Habakkuk 1:12-17, God’s answer to Habakkuk’s questions poses an even more vexing question:
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can a righteous God use the wicked to punish those who are more righteous than they? Habakkuk’s question in verse 17 had to do with divine justice.
Habakkuk was puzzled, not only by the degeneration of his own people but also by the certainty that his country would be judged by another nation, one worse. The prophet was well aware of Judah’s sins but, by [...]
Read Habakkuk 1.
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What are the questions that the prophet asks of God? Though his situation is, of course, different from ours, how often do we find ourselves asking these types of questions?
Habakkuk is unique among prophets because he did not speak for God to the people but rather spoke to God about the people. The prophet begins his struggle to understand God’s purposes with a cry of bewilderment: “How long, O Lord?” In the Bible, this question [...]