The Book of Zephaniah

Gathering Before His Throne

Voluntarily Gathering

Zephaniah 1:1-2:3

The Advantage of Self-examination

Extensive Outline and Commentary
Zephaniah 1:1 - 2:3

Four reasons we now need to gather ourselves before God’s throne.

A. Voluntarily Gathering (Zephaniah 1:1-2:3)

1. The Scene of His Judgment is Comprehensive (1:1-3)
Judgment severe, coming fast!
God includes all of us in His invitation to humbly gather before Him. Perhaps many of us would not come knowing His agenda, and yet His desire to bring us before His throne before the actual day of judgment should behoove us to act wisely and quickly. Now is the time for us to come into His presence. His detailed account of His peoples’ sins give us an occasion to gather before Him. We must seek a closer examination of our lifestyle not only that we may escape judgment for these sins, but also that we may entertain a greater portion of His grace upon our lives and the church.

    2  I will completely remove all things From the face of the earth," declares the LORD.
    3  I will remove man and beast;  And
        I will remove the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea, And the ruins along with the wicked;
        I will cut off man from the face of the earth," declares the LORD. (Zephaniah 1:1b-3).

Notice the four future tenses. The judgment is near. It's coming. We are to act now.

     1. Thorough judgment
God will usher a thorough judgment into every situation wherever sin is to be found.
     2. Disastrous judgment.
God is not afraid of spoiling the environment for the sake of a proper judgment. Justice is a must. A new creation can be made again, but the rebellious people has to be dealt with. The wicked create the problem not God. The world must be destroyed because it is polluted with man's sin. {see Jer 12:4} The best solution for the environmentalists is to repent from their sins and cry for delay in judgment of this earth.

     3. Final judgment.
An end of the world is coming. It is held off for sake of the elect. Judgment is waiting. All judgment on earth must be seen in light of the comprehensive cleansing coming.

Our covenant God is also the Judge of the world. If man does not like His means of judgment, then we must wonder if we worship a god after our making or what. Listen carefully. We need to be glad this world will be burnt up with all of its sin. Don't think God is not bringing forth a full justice. Don't believe it will never come. Don't think that the Lord does not care about the excess crimes of the world's leaders. We will all soon meet up with God’s sovereign might and no man, no beast, no sin shall stand up to it.

2. The Scope of His Judgment is Extensive (1:4-13)
Thorough examination of His peoples' deeds will come. Note the 3 very descriptive scenes.

a. Divided Worship (4-6) The Grand Slaughter
    God will destroy those who obey the first few commandments
     1) Destroy any vestiges of idolatry and those connected with it (4)
     2) Destroy the syncretists (5)
     3) Destroy those who have turned back from the Lord (6a)
     4) Destroy those not seeking or inquiring of Him (6b)

b. Worldly Influence (7-9) The Grand Sacrifice
     1) Targeting His leaders (guests!) even in Jerusalem! Royal palace (7)
     2) God knows the proper procedures - and uses it against leaders (7-8)
     3) Wrongly adopt worldly standards and symbols
     4) Adopt other standards of worship (Assyrian - right step over/or thieves)
     5) Accuse them of violence and deceit

c. Indifferent Hearts (10-13) The Grand Search
     Loud judgment contrast to agnostic response.
     1) Crooked merchants (11) {no sabbath; no offerings}
     2) Agnostic. No judgment. No morals. "God looks after those who look after themselves."

God looks after those who look after themselves.

Seems like God is angry with such individuals.

The Lord says to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and with all of our strength. Do we? Any divided attention, attraction to worldly customs or ways or agnostic thinking will bring great judgments? We look lightly upon our relationship in the covenant. We say "confess Jesus" and all is well; God wants our life, heart and soul.

3. The Severity of His Judgment is Harrowing (1:14-18)
     a. It's near (14)
     b. Fearsome darkness (15)
     c. Powerful (16)
     d. Gross (17) Dt 28:28-29
     e. Effective (18)

This is no computer game! What “fortified cities” do we or our friends think we have? God’s wrath will destroy them all, the big and the many.

4. The Saving Opportunity is Here (2:1-3)
Repentance is usually looked upon rather negatively, but with the backdrop of a horribly severe judgment, repentance has a sweet essence of hope. Now we are to gather ourselves together: Only now is there opportunity of grace and salvation for His people
     a. Call to Gather (2:1)
         Volunteer. Response is up to you.
     b. Time to Gather (2:2)
          Urgency of gathering .. before Lord comes.
     c. Way to Gather (2:3a)
         1) By seeking the Lord.
          2) Being humble.
          3) Obey
     d. Reason to Gather (2:3b)
         Maybe be hidden from His wrath

God is looking for those who have the courage and dedication to gather before Him. For them coming closer is to take up the opportunity to gain an extra portion of His grace. Coming closer to God requires a greater introspection of self. As one turns up the light, the imperfections, the stains, the dirt show up in ways one never could have imagined. The greater a glimpse at His glory, the more we can see our imperfections. We should not be surprised at them. We must learn to hate our sin as God hates them. Being able to see our sins ahead of judgment is His grace in operation. Being able to confess our sins is also His grace. The one who ignores the call of an introspect examination of himself is signing up for Judgment Day. Let's seek a more intimate life with Him. Let's come before Him.

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Zephaniah study - Call to Revival
Gathering Before His Throne
Relevance to our Lives | Historical | Overview
A.Voluntarily Gathering 1:1-2:3 Questions | Notes | Outline
B.Willingly Gathering 2:3-3:13 Questions | Notes | Outline
C. Gladly Gathering 3:14-3:20 Questions | Notes | Outline
Zephaniah Bible Study Questions: Complete set

Other Old Testament prophetic studes: Isaiah Haggai Micah

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