1. In what setting did Zephaniah serve as a prophet, and how is he a good example for us today?
1 It was the mid-seventh century B.C.E., and Baal worship was being openly practiced in Judah. Bad King Amon had recently been murdered, and now young King Josiah was reigning. (2 Chron. 33:21–34:1) During that time, Jehovah raised up Zephaniah to declare His judgment message. Although Zephaniah may have been a member of Judah’s royal house, he did not water down Jehovah’s message of condemnation to Judah’s leadership. (Zeph. 1:1; 3:1-4) Similarly, we strive to imitate Zephaniah’s courage and avoid allowing family ties to impact our worship of Jehovah in a negative way. (Matt. 10:34-37) What message did Zephaniah declare, and with what results?
2. What action must we take to be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger?
2 Seek Jehovah: Only Jehovah can save individuals in the day of his anger. Thus, Zephaniah urged the people of Judah to seek Jehovah, seek righteousness, and seek meekness while time still remained. (Zeph. 2:2, 3) The same is true in our day. Like Zephaniah, we encourage others to seek Jehovah, but we too must act, being determined never to “turn away from following Jehovah.” (Zeph. 1:6) Rather, we seek Jehovah by carefully studying his Word and by praying for his guidance. We seek righteousness by living a morally clean life. We seek meekness by cultivating a submissive attitude and by readily responding to direction from Jehovah’s organization.
3. Why should we maintain a positive attitude in the ministry?
3 Positive Results: Zephaniah’s judgment message struck a responsive chord with at least some in Judah but likely most notably with young Josiah, who started to search for Jehovah while he was still a boy. Josiah later carried out a vigorous campaign against idolatry in the land. (2 Chron. 34:2-5) Today, although some Kingdom seed falls alongside the road, on rocky ground, or among the thorns, some also falls on the fine soil and yields fruit. (Matt. 13:18-23) We are confident that Jehovah will continue to bless our efforts as we stay busy spreading Kingdom seed.—Ps. 126:6.
4. Why should we ‘keep ourselves in expectation of Jehovah’?
4 Some in Judah felt that Jehovah would never act. However, Jehovah assured all that his great day was near. (Zeph. 1:12, 14) Salvation would come only to those who took refuge in him. (Zeph. 3:12, 17) As we ‘keep ourselves in expectation of Jehovah,’ may we find delight in serving unitedly with fellow worshippers of our great God!—Zeph. 3:8, 9.