An exposition of Zephaniah 3:9-20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, May 9, 2010.
The language is vivid, bold and undeniable. That’s what makes it so terrifying. God is coming in judgment of the nations. He is coming in judgment of those who continue in unbelief regardless of where they live or what nation they call home. For He is the righteous Judge of all the earth. It is to Him every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. When that day is described as a day of “distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry” you understand it will be a day of terror. If you dwell on that message for any length of time you will get depressed. It is a message, if you believe it, that will eat at you. If you understand that He means what He says, you will live in dread. And if that was His final word you would have nothing to live for. But it is not His final word. His message of judgment is accompanied by a word of hope. For instance at the end of Amos, after the prophet thunders the judgment of God he ends with these words, “I will plant them (Israel) on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them, says the LORD your God” (Amos 9:15). He is a God of grace and mercy, a God of kindness and love, and so the prophet Zephaniah ends not with judgment but with hope. Our text this evening is found in Zephaniah chapter 3 beginning with verse 9.
Text: Zephaniah 3:9-20
1:1-3:8 speaks of a coming Day of Wrath.
3:9-20 speaks of a coming Day of Joy.
A day that promises both conversion and restoration.
This promise of conversion and restoration does not replace judgment but comes after judgment.
It is a mistake to assume that grace demands that judgment be turned away.
There have been repeated offers of grace.
There have been multiple pleas to repent.
Now judgment must come – but there is life after judgment for that remnant that believes.
Back in the 1st section 1:1-2:3 – there was the threat of judgment and a call for repentance.
In section 2 2:4-3:8 – that same message was taken to the Judah and the surrounding nations.
Now comes the promise of a New Day.
A day of blessing and peace all because of the grace of God.
Judah doesn’t deserve a new day.
The surrounding nations do not deserve blessing.
As we walk through the remainder of this book I want to point out three things as we seek to draw words of encouragement and hope for today from this sermon from the 7th century b.c.
- A call for self-examination – (3:9-13)
- A Cause for rejoicing. (3:14-15)
- The comfort of resting in His promise. (3:16-20)
There’s a new day dawning. A day of joy and peace for the people of God.
- Are you in that believing remnant?
- Are you part of that worshiping crowd?
- Are you trusting in His precious promise?