Zephaniah - Repentance

Background

Zephaniah lived during the time of the evil king Manasseh and his son, Amon. He was surrounded by idolatry, child sacrifice, and killings. The book of Zephaniah talks about God’s judgment on all people for their sin followed by the restoration when they repent. Zephaniah’s primary target for God’s message of judgment, the nation of Judah, had fallen into grievous sin under the reign of their king, Manasseh and his son Amon.


Key Verse

Zephaniah 2 Gather together, gather yourselves together, you shameful nation, 2 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. 3 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.


Corporate/Identificational Repentance

Zep 2:1 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. 3 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.

Here we have a call to repentance by the nation. We are to “gather together”. As the nation has sinned collectively so are we to gather collectively to repent.

Verse 3 calls for the repentance of those people who are doing what the Lord commands, who are not involved in the shameful acts of the nation. This is what we call identificational repentance. Even though we may not be engaging in the sin of the nation, we are called to identify with our sinful nation and repent before God for our sins.

It is true that each person is held accountable to God for his own sins. However, there are sins that affect a nation and every person, whether or not he is involved in that sin, will suffer the consequences when God’s judgment comes. Therefore, we are to repent on behalf of our nation and plead for the Lord’s mercy.


Repent before it is too late

Zep 2:1 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. eek 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.

The Bible is full of God’s warning for us to turn from our sinful ways. These warnings are there for us to avert judgment. Just as God warned Nineveh of the impending judgment and averted that judgment when the city repented, likewise God will avert His judgment if we repent before it is too late.


Be humble and heed advice

Zep 3:1-2 Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! She obeys no one, she accepts no correction.
God often sends warners to warn of His impending judgment. This is because He is merciful and does not wish that we will go through the judgment. We must be careful to heed the advice of people that God may send into our lives to warn us of certain sins.


After repentance comes restoration

Despite the terrible calamities that may come upon us when God’s judgment befalls us, it is never too late to repent. When we do God promises that He will restore unto us that which His judgment has stripped away from us.
Zep 3:9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder...20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.