Zephaniah 1

Those who will not improve the presence of God with them as a Father,
may expect His presence with them as a Judge,
to call them to account for all their contempt of His grace.
The day of His wrath will strip sinners of all that they have and will leave them nothing but distress and pain with no way of helping themselves.

1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.

3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.

4 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests;

5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham;

6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.

7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.

8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.

9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.

10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills.

11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.

12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.

14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.

15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.

17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

Zephaniah 1 – “The Great Day of the LORD”

   Zephaniah means hidden of the Lord. He lived in Josiah’s reign, and cooperated with that king in his efforts to put down idolatry. His prophecy deals with the sins that were rife in Judah and the fearful retribution that would be inflicted through the Chaldeans.
   Approaching destruction, Zephaniah 1:2-6. The Chemarim were idolatrous priests dressed in black garments. Malcam is Milcom or Moloch. Notice the successive classes of those who were to suffer in the overthrow. They constitute a series of concentric circles, narrowing down at last to those who had turned back, and to those who had never sought the Lord.
   The invaders, Zephaniah 1:7-18. The guests whom God invited to the banquet were Nebuchadnezzar and his soldiers! They marched in through the Fish Gate; and, as they advanced, cry after cry arose from the affrighted populace, driven from quarter to quarter. Maktesh, Zephaniah 1:11, was probably the Vale of Siloam, where the merchant princes dwelt or pursued their business. None would be able to elude the coming vengeance. Those that affected foreign attire, or leaped across the threshold in superstition, or practiced deceit, would have to pay dearly for their sins. Fulfilled in the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and afterward by Titus, these words will always stand for the inevitable national sufferings which follow national crimes. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Zephaniah 1:12—I will search Jerusalem with candles.

   The state of things in the chosen city was scandalous. The people worshipped the host of heaven on the housetops; the temple-courts were filled with the priests of idolatry; the court affected foreign dress and manners. Nothing could prevent the invasion of the Chaldeans as ministers of the Divine vengeance. These were the terrible guests whom the Almighty had summoned to the feast; and the feast consisted of the spoils of the city (Zephaniah 1:7).
   No sin of his people can escape the notice of God. He searches out the secret evils of our hearts with lighted candles, not for his vision alone, but for ours; that we may know, and abhor them, and put them from us. There is the candle of conscience. The spirit of man is as the candle of the Lord. In some men the candle is present, but not lit: in others it is lit by the power of the Divine Spirit; and there is something of the incandescent flame about it then.
   There is the candle of outward events. How often does God allow some incident of which we hear in social conversation, or read in the newspaper, to cast a sudden and unexpected light upon some passages in our lives which we have carefully shrouded in darkness. Right into a hidden closet the searchlight falls, saying “thou art the man.”
   Then there is that candle of his Holy Word. A text or sermon unkindled by the Spirit of God is like an unlighted candle. But when God’s Holy Spirit rests on it, interfusing it with fire, then how mighty is its effect! It searches the heart and tries the reins; it reveals to man his thought and the real object of his existence, that he may repent. —Our Daily Homily