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Zephaniah-Detailed Outline
A. A Warning of Impending Judgment
Zephaniah 1:1-1 Introduction
The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah.
Zephaniah 1:2-1:6 The Judgment Announced
Judgment of Judah…graphic imagery: Judgment against the world. General thrust of passage is complete destruction. Will destroy the remnants of Baal. Will cut off the names of those who turn back from following the Lord.
Zephaniah 1:7-1:13 The Judgment Defined
Called all to silent attention before the Lord. Day of the Lord was at hand…a day of reckoning. The Lord’s sacrifice will be the people of Judah. The Babylonians will be called to carry out the sacrifice. Special mention was given to royal leaders who failed their responsibility. It will be a day of reckoning and of great wailing. Curses of the covenant will be invoked. People will not enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Zephaniah 1:14-1:18 The Judgment Described
The Day of the Lord: It is nearer than people think; will be a day of terror. Graphic descriptions of that horrible day are given. It will be a day of wrath, anguish, and distress. Battle cries and trumpets will be heard. They will stumble along like the blind. Neither silver nor gold will be able to save them. They cannot buy their way out of this one.
B. An Exhortation to Immediate Repentance
Zephaniah 2:1-2:3 An Invitation to Repentance
Calls people to gather. If they gather together, they might avert judgment. Seek the Lord, seek righteousness…perhaps they will be sheltered. Reason for distress: Judgment against Judah for its sins.
Zephaniah 2:4-3:8 A Detailed warning of Judgment
Zephaniah 2:4-7 Prophecy against Philistia: Four cities representing all of Philistia will be destroyed ...none will be left. Seacoast of Philistia will be desolate place for shepherds. Eventually will be enjoyed by remnant of Judah.
Zephaniah 2:8-11 Prophecy against Moab and Ammon: People of these lands have taunted Judah. God has heard their insults. Their lands will become desolate. Again, the remnant of Judah will inherit the land. The Lord God will destroy the gods of that land. Then the people will have to acknowledge God as the true God.
Zephaniah 2:12 Prophecy against Cush: They will be slain by the sword. Located along the upper Nile. They will be brought to an end.
Zephaniah 2:13-15 Prophecy against Assyria: Prediction of utter desolation. City will be dry as a desert (Nineveh probably had one of the best irrigation systems in all of antiquity…another sign that God is Lord over all). City will become an object of contempt. People will pass by and mock it
Zephaniah 3:1-8 Prophecy against Jerusalem: Judah was not devoid of its own social problems. Oppressors ignored the plight of the poor. People were outwardly meticulous about purity ceremonies. Inwardly, they were rotten to the core. Specific charges: Disobedient and untrusting, did not draw near to God. Officials, rulers, prophets, and priests were all blameworthy. In contrast to leaders, the Lord is righteous. God reminded His people re: the fate of other nations. Pleaded with Judah to return to Him. People were trapped in sin, and did not comply.
C. A Promise of A Future Blessing
Zephaniah 3:9-3:13 The Promise of Conversion
Zephaniah 3:9-10 Day of Joy: The scattered people would be gathered. They will learn to worship rightly.
Zephaniah 3:11-13 Restoration of Judah: The proud will be removed; the meek and humble will remain. The meek will trust in the name of the Lord. No more will they fear. There will be no more lies…no more deceit. Life will return to normal.
Zephaniah 3:14-20 The Promise of Restoration
The remnant will rejoice. It will be a time of great joy… the Messianic Era. The Lord has removed their punishment. Daughter of Zion will sing! Enemies have been turned back. The Lord is mighty to save. “He will take great delight in you…. He will rejoice over you with singing”. They will rest in His love. Sorrows are over, including the memory of them. God will take care of His instruments of judgment. Honor and praise will replace shame. “I will gather you…and bring you home.” Their fortunes and their lives will be restored.

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