Zephaniah 1:1 fixes the authorship and date of this book, “ The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah.” The name Zephaniah means, “The Lord has hidden.” His ancestry is traced back four generations to Judah's King Hezekiah, who witnessed the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by Assyria in 720 BC. This book was written in approximately 630 BC, one hundred years after the siege by Assyria. The Assyrians were a fierce warring people who would decimate captured lands by polluting the fields and destroying everything in their path. They would seek to destroy societies by intermixing with the conquered peoples to dilute their religion and social identity. Judah became polluted with pagan worship, rituals, and magical arts of diviners who practiced the astral religion of Ashurism.
Today Christianity is being invaded by secularism. Like the fields that the Assyrian armies would pollute with salt and seed with weeds, it is growing among us and killing our society. It is not radical to set your mind on living the way that God has asked us to live. As we accept secular society's mores we are being assimilated into it. Romans 12:2 instructs us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In Exodus 19:5 God says, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine”(KJV). By definition in order to be peculiar, we must be different from the ocean of worldliness around us.
The theme of this book is the wrath of a loving God, this truth is illustrated in Zephaniah 2:1-3, “Gather together, gather yourselves together, you shameful nation,before the decree takes effect and that day passes like windblown chaff, before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s wrath comes upon you. 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” (NIV).
Lord, in Jesus name, I pray that you show each of the pollution of secularism that has permeated our lives. Lord, please give us the Grace to repent and be cleansed of it. Father, it is so easy to fall into practices that are not pleasing to you without even realizing it. Thank You for Your mercy and compassion. Please make us peculiar to You and an ensign to the world of Your love and desire for its redemption. Thank You that You love each of us regardless of our sin, although You desire for us to lay it down and come to You as a child. Lord please heal us, heal our land, heal our hearts. We need You. Lord, I love you. Amen.