"This is the Word that the Lord spoke to Zephaniah" (Zephaniah 1:1). Straightaway, our attention is drawn away from the prophet to the Lord - "The Lord spoke His Word" (Zephaniah 1:1). How are we to hear the Word of the Lord? - "Be silent in the presence of the Almighty Lord" (Zephaniah 1:7). How can we hear what the Lord is saying to us, if we're too busy speaking? We must listen to God, if we are to hear what He is saying to us. What we hear from the Lord may not be what we want to hear. It will be what we need to hear. He speaks to us His Word of judgment so that we might see ourselves as sinners and come to Him for salvation.
"Search for the Lord, all you humble people in the land... " (Zephaniah 2:2). Even when the people have wandered away, far from God, and the land has become deeply affected by ungodly and unrighteous ways of thinking and living, God continues to call the people to return to Him and enter into His blessing.
The Lord is "righteous" (Zephaniah 3:5). His people are "rebellious" (Zephaniah 3:1). The people were not served well by their "prophets" and "priests" (Zephaniah 3:4). Could this situation be turned around? Could the people be led back from rebellion to righteousness? From the human side, there is no returning to the Lord. The human side is not all that there is. There is God - and He refuses to give up on His people: "Then I will give all people pure lips to worship the Lord and to serve Him with one purpose" (Zephaniah 3:9). To His people, God says, "I will remove your arrogance" (Zephaniah 3:11). Rebellious people can be changed by God's saving grace. How many will return to the Lord? - God speaks about "a faithful few" (Zephaniah 3:12-13). "They will seek refuge in the Name of the Lord" (Zephaniah 3:12). Any good thing in us has come from the Lord, When we consider all that the Lord has done for us, we are to worship Him - "Sing happily, people of Zion... " (Zephaniah 3:14). What reasons do we have for singing praise to the Lord? - "The Lord has reversed the judgments against you. He has forced out your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is with you" (Zephaniah 3:15). We rejoice in the Lord, and He takes delight in us - "He... celebrates over you with shouts of joy" (Zephaniah 3:17).