Tonight, I sat in my first inductive study in a series on Zephaniah in Idaho Falls.
My Bible teacher, Rob Hibbard, has the best sticker on the back of his Ford Ranger topper.
Zephaniah contains three chapters. In the above picture, this Hebrew name (not counting all the pronoun references) is listed 34 times in the 53 verses, making Him the #1 theme in this ancient 2600 year-old prophecy.
In preparation for the class, I have read this minor prophet a dozen times in at least a half dozen different translations.
Tonight in class, I read the first chapter four times, marking this text as instructed.
Initially, I am mulling over several things.
- First of all, if a Jew had to choose between the land or the Messiah, which would he pick? For this upcoming Palm Sunday, the Scripture reading will be John 11:17-57 for my church family. I am thinking in particular of verse 47:
The the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
- In Zephaniah’s day, the Jews wanted their land and not YHWH. The LORD says, “I will cut off man from the face of the land” (Zeph. 1:3). This happened in 586 B.C. In the Messiah’s day, the Jews wanted their place and not the Christ. They were cut off from it in A.D. 70.
- If you had to choose between _____________ and Jesus, what or who would you decide? In a future day, I do know there will be a full reunion of believing people and the land. And the Messiah’s love, peace, righteousness, and truth will blossom like flowers in whatever direction you look.
- Secondly, do you think that one of God’s attributes is wrath? Some would claim that it is a pagan notion that God punishes and devours in the fire of His jealousy. If you believe that God is love, how do you reconcile Zephaniah chapter 1 with that belief?There is a medieval hymn, “Dies irae (day of wrath)“, sourced in Zephaniah 1:15.