The Message of Zephaniah: The Day of the Lord’s Wrath

The Message of Zephaniah: The Day of the Lord's WrathText: Zephaniah 1:14-18

In this series, we are going to do an overview of the Minor Prophets. The goal is to (1) understand the overall theme of each book and (2) see what lessons there are for us. In this lesson, we are going to see what we can learn from the book of Zephaniah.

Historical Context

  • Zephaniah traced his lineage back four generations (1:1) – great-great grandson of King Hezekiah; therefore, he was related to King Josiah
  • In the days of Josiah…king of Judah” (1:1) – Josiah was a good king (2 Kings 22:1-2; 23:25); yet he could not stop the coming judgment because of Manasseh’s wickedness (2 Kings 23:26)
  • Written prior to the Babylonian invasion (2 Kings 24:10-16) – possibly prior to Josiah’s reforms

Overall Theme: The Day of the Lord’s Wrath

  • A day of wrath was coming (1:18) – against Judah (1:4); God’s people were being sacrificed (1:7); being punished for idolatry (1:4-5), rejecting God (1:6), worldliness (1:8), violence/deceit (1:9)
  • There would be nowhere to hide – in Jerusalem they would be found (1:12); also coming against surrounding nations (2:4-15) to there would be nowhere to flee
  • There was no turning back from this – again, this was despite Josiah’s reforms (2 Kings 23:4-26); no call for repentance to stop this from coming, only that they might be hidden on this day (2:3)

Main Points

  • The people had developed an apathy toward God (1:12-13) – not thankful OR fearful; they thought that God was not going to bless them or punish them, so why care about God?
  • God’s judgment is just (3:5) – statement given after describing God’s judgment against His people and the nations; He would do what was right, unlike their rulers (1:9; 3:3)
  • God would give the peoples “purified lips” (3:9) – “pure language” (KJV); prophesy of the gospel; people divided by language at Babel because they sinned against God (Genesis 11:1-9); prophecy that people would be united together speaking the same thing, truth about God (Micah 4:2)
  • A remnant would be preserved (3:12-13) – so the promise of the gospel could be fulfilled [previous point]; they would not be spared from the hardships of this judgment, but they would be preserved

Lessons for Us

  • Don’t develop an apathy toward God (2 Peter 3:3-4) – God’s not directly involved in our affairs as He once was; but we still enjoy His blessings (Acts 14:17; Genesis 8:22) and we are also still accountable to Him (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
  • Prepare for the day of wrath by seeking the Lord (2 Peter 3:7-11) – God rewards “those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6)
  • We need to be people of “purified lips” (3:9) – speak the truth of God’s word (1 Peter 4:11; 2 Corinthians 2:17); do not let any corrupt communication proceed from our mouths (Ephesians 4:29); speak what is good and helpful (Colossians 4:6)


  • Zephaniah teaches us about the day of God’s wrath – when it is coming, it cannot be stopped
  • We need to be ready whenever that day might be

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