29 June, 2022

Lesson for June 5, 2016: The Day of the Lord (Zephaniah 1:4″“6, 14″“16; 2:3)

by | 30 May, 2016

Dr. Mark Scott wrote this treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson. Scott teaches preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri, and has held preaching ministries in Missouri, Illinois, and Colorado. This lesson treatment is published in the May 29 issue of The Lookout magazine, and is also available online at www.lookoutmag.com.


By Mark Scott 

The Bible is full of contrasts related to God”s people. There was the line of Seth and the way of Cain; the sons of God and the daughters of men; the seed of promise (Isaac) and the house of Ishmael; the kingdom of God and the domain of darkness; the church and the world; Jerusalem and Babylon; the remnant and the unfaithful. But what if the remnant leaned toward unfaithfulness? The promise (Genesis 12:1-3) could be compromised. So God even had to purge the remnant by coming in judgment against his own people. A disturbing text says that judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). Zephaniah had to deliver such a judgment message to God”s people. Their day of reckoning had come.

While Nahum was prophesying against Nineveh, Habakkuk and Jeremiah were trying to get Judah ready for coming captivity. If Habakkuk and Jeremiah gave the spiritual side for coming judgment, then Zephaniah gave the secular side. Zephaniah had royal blood running through his veins (the great-great-great-grandson of Hezekiah). He prophesied during the reign of Josiah (Judah”s last great king).

Disaster | Zephaniah 1:4-6

The judgment of God that Zephaniah predicted was staggering (Zephaniah 1:2, 3). It sounds worldwide and similar to that of Noah”s day (Genesis 6:5-7). Zephaniah had some things to say to the nations (primarily in chapter 2). But similar to Amos”s prophecy, the day of the Lord was coming against God”s own people (Amos 2:4″“4:13).

The same outstretched hand that brought God”s people out of Egypt (Exodus 6:6) was now turned against them. Notice the parallelism against Judah and Jerusalem. God would bring disaster to the Baal worshippers, who sometimes even set up shop in the temple itself. God would bring disaster on the astrologers and on those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molek“”syncretists. God would bring disaster on those who rebelled against him with sins of commission””turn back from following the Lord and with sins of omission””neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.

Other sins are mentioned: Leaders were not truly leading (Zephaniah 1:8; 3:3, 4). People were living more by fate than faith (1:9). Some were unrestrained in their unbridled power (v. 9). Complacency, presumption, and materialism abounded (vv. 12, 18). They failed to trust God or draw near to him (3:2). Some acted corruptly and others were haughty (vv. 7, 11). Maybe the biggest reason for the coming disaster was plain old sin (1:17) and no desire to be corrected (3:2).

Disciplinarian | Zephaniah 1:14-16

God”s people did experience some good days during the reign of good King Josiah. But the Lord is in total control. The Lord is the Mighty Warrior. The great day of the Lord or “that day” or “at that time” or “the day of the Lord” or “the day” appear throughout Zephaniah”s prophecy as well as other parts of the Old Testament (Isaiah 13:6; Amos 5:18-20; Malachi 4:5). Most often this phrase does not refer to some cataclysmic end-times destruction. Mostly it refers to some kind of judgment””often local.

God”s people would be surprised that he had turned against them. He would come quickly and give a victory shout. His coming would be marked with distress and anguish, trouble and ruin, darkness and gloom. The trumpet would announce his coming and even the watchtowers (corner towers) wouldn”t be able to stand against his judgment.

Delight | Zephaniah 2:3

If God”s people turned to him, then disaster could turn to delight. Earlier we were told that Judah did not seek the Lord. Zephaniah pled with God”s people three times to seek the Lord. He called for them to be humble and obey God. He called for them to seek righteousness (justice). If they did this, they might be sheltered (covered) by the Lord himself during this day of the Lord”s anger.

There is a bumper sticker that reads, “Jesus is coming back””and he is not happy.” It is partially true. Jesus is coming again (Hebrews 9:28). But God lives in perpetual joy and does not have an occasional bad day. However, he does seem to schedule various days of judgment to prepare and purify us.


*Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

May 30: Exodus 23:14″“19
May 31: Exodus 16:25″“30
June 1: Deuteronomy 26:14b”“19
June 2: Isaiah 65:13″“19
June 3: 2 Timothy 4:1″“8
June 4: Matthew 24:42″“47
June 5: Zephaniah 1:4″“6, 14″“16; 2:3

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com


Latest News

Fire Destroys Iowa City Church Building (Plus Other News Briefs)

The Iowa City Church building was destroyed in an early morning fire Saturday as a strong storm that produced lightning and caused flash flood warnings rolled through the area. . . . Plus briefs from Tonganoxie Christian Church, Casas por Cristo, Garfield Christian Church, and more.

Roe v. Wade Has Been Overturned . . . What Now?

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, the church has a lot to consider. How will we love people with whom we disagree? How can we say we love babies and we love women? How can we share Jesus? How can we best serve our communities?

Fresno Church Sponsoring Summer Camp for Afghan Refugee Children

CrossCity Christian Church in Fresno, Calif., is spearheading an effort to offer a summer camp for Afghan refugee children in its community. Forty families relocated to Fresno after the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer. CrossCity has been sponsoring one of those families . . .

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Owen Crouch’s ‘Study of Acts 2:44, 45’ (1953)

Greek scholar Owen Crouch was mentioned earlier this week in an article about Del Harris’s induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Dr. Crouch served several Christian colleges and wrote 10 books. Today we share an article from 1953 that Dr. Crouch wrote about Acts 2:44-45.

e2: effective elders Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary (Plus News Briefs)

e2: effective elders is marking 10 years as a nonprofit parachurch ministry. During that time, e2 has trained more than 9,600 elders and church leaders. Also briefs about the Church of Christ on Lewis Street (in Little Rock), Tony Darling, Jack Cottrell, and more.

Follow Us