Lesson 6: Zephaniah: God’s Judgment and Mercy

Key Verse

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.

—Acts 17:27

Key Verse Thought: Read the Key Verse and use the following definitions for better understanding of it:

  • seek: to seek God means to turn to Him, to strive humbly and sincerely to follow and obey Him.
  • haply: nevertheless, but stronger meaning though indeed.   

This basically sums up the message the prophets continually presented before the people: to seek the Lord, for He is never far from His people. God never left His people; they left Him.

Emphasis: We are to understand the importance of turning to God, striving humbly and sincerely to follow and obey Him. If Christians would just do that, they would find Him – for He is not far. He is always waiting for His people to return to Him.

Lesson Summary: In this lesson, we take a break from the kings of Judah to study another minor prophet book, Zephaniah, as close to where it belongs in Judah’s history as possible. Remember that we learned about King Manasseh and King Amon in our last lesson. Both of them were bad kings, and even though Manasseh finally humbled himself before God, King Amon continued in his sin never humbling himself before God. From this, we understand that the nation of Judah was in a deplorable condition.

The book of Zephaniah begins with, “The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi … son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah” (Zephaniah 1:1). He was the descendant of good King Hezekiah, and that means he was related to King Josiah. We will study the kingdom of King Josiah after learning of Habakkuk next week. Zephaniah boldly spoke of the day of the Lord – and that it was coming soon. He understood God was displeased with His people. Zephaniah warned of immediate judgment and destruction. He encouraged the people to, “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger” (Zephaniah 2:3). 

Zephaniah warned the people of God’s coming judgment, but he left them with the hope that God promised to restore His people.

Y2Q3 – Lesson 6 Questions

Y2Q3 – Lesson 6 Children’s Worksheets

If you are teaching this lesson to younger children, the following is a craft idea to go along with this lesson.

We took a votive candle and glued the following verse on the outside: “And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles …” Zephaniah 1:12.

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