Chapter 1:1 Details of Zephaniah’s heritage. We can think of him as speaking to his own “family” which is different than many of the prophets. Would that make him more or less apt to be listened to? In that day, I would guess he would receive more respect. His ministry was during the reign of Josiah who was a Godly king and tried to turn the people to God. His book does not give any information about persecution of Zephaniah.
4-9 God is particularly angry with the people who are worshiping idols. He mentions Baal and Molech. His grievance regards their seeking information from “starry hosts.” Astrologers, soothsayers, fortune tellers, I suppose. I love the reference verse 9 to “not stepping on the threshold.” Wonderful story of the Ark of the Covenant being taken into Dagon’s temple. Next morning, Dagon had fallen. He was set upright; next morning he had fallen again. His head and hands had broken off on the threshold. His followers avoided stepping on the threshold. Funny, and surely so humiliating to Dagon!
11 and 18 The marketing district (financial) will be weakened so that the value of silver and gold will be ruined.
12-13 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who sit like wine left on its dregs, who think, “The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad. Their wealth will be plundered; their houses demolished. They will build houses but not live in them; they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine. To what does the phrase “sitting on the dregs, or lees,” refer? Dregs/lees refers to the left over build up that goes to the bottom in wine containers. They think they have it made, doing well – complacent. No problems, after all they say, “God won’t do anything.” God responds: watch and see – your wealth, houses, vineyards will be destroyed.
I’m checking my complacency by the following example. Have I done anything to stop the gambling industries as more casinos are being added in my state? No, not a smidgen. How about you? Do you see a “wrong” going on and stand up against it beyond just not participating in it? Hope so.
3. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands, Seek righteousness, seek humility, perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” Personal responsibility vs national responsibility. No matter how evil one’s government becomes, God still gives personal choice in regard to salvation! But he does not guarantee that the saints will not suffer the actions of the nation.
Most of Chapter 2 consists of prophesy against surrounding nations – Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Cush, Assyria
Chapter 3 is addressed to Jerusalem. Complaints against “oppressors” – officials are roaring lions, rulers are evening wolves, prophets are arrogant, treacherous men, priests profane the sanctuary; the unrighteous know no shame. How does the USA perform according to these standards? Shame? Can you name any act that is considered “shameful” in our present milieu?
6-11 Destruction is coming.
12-13 Some will be saved. The meek, humble, trusting, obedient, those who do not lie nor deceive.
14 to end of chapter: Sing, Daughter of Jerusalem …O Israel …Be glad and rejoice; the Lord will come to your rescue.
17: “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.”… 20: “At that time, I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home, I will give you honor and praise among all the people of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes, says the Lord.”
CHRISTIANS, RIGHTEOUS, SAINTS, LOOK AT THAT AGAIN: Do you see? The Lord delights in you. He will sing over you! This is talking about now, not someday in the sweet by and by. Do you wake with a song? Perhaps that is God’s love song to you.