From the Journals of the prophet Zephaniah
My great-great grandfather, King Hezekiah ruled Judah.
Since Hezekiah died we have had a lot of trouble here in Judah.
When I was little, my father told me what had happened to our people long ago. He said, "After years of trouble and disobeying God while King Ahaz led us, we celebrated when his son, King Hezekiah took over the throne.
"Your great-great-grandfather Hezekiah proved his love for God by tearing down the idols, opening the temple doors, and teaching the people to worship God as He had commanded."
He looked at me with a tear in his eye. "Yes, Hezekiah was a great king." He sighed. "Then his son, Manasseh ruled. Manasseh liked all the glory that came with being king. He wanted to please the nations all around us instead of the Almighty God.
"He brought back all the idols. The people of Judah listened to him, setting aside all the good Hezekiah had taught them." He squeezed his eyes shut. "Terrible. Just terrible. The new children born in the country didn't know about God. They learned to worship these awful idols."
"Then what happened?" I asked him.
"Well, son, God did as He said He would. The people were punished. The Assyrian army came and took many of the rich and smart men, women, and children from Judah and made them slaves. We who are here are all that is left.
"Manasseh cried out to God and said he was sorry. God heard his prayer and let him come back home. His son, Amon became king and did bad things like his father had done. There were and still are many of us who are afraid of the kings."
My father had taught me the stories of what had happened to our people, even from the days of Moses. I loved learning the wonderful things God did, but was very sad to hear about the bad things our people did.
Now that I'm older, I have the chance to tell others how God took care of us and about the good leaders we had like Moses, Joshua, David, Hezekiah, and others.
Bad king Amon has since died and his son, eight-year-old Josiah has been crowned king. He is too young to make decisions right now. I have been appointed as an advisor for him.
Recently, God gave me a message that I wrote down.
The message is: because of the years of disobedience to God's Word, the people of Judah would be punished. The day of the Lord is coming.
No matter what I said, many of the people didn't care. They didn't listen to me or God's message. They kept doing the bad things they enjoyed.
The punishment will come. They will see. But after a time, God said,
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you.
He will quiet you with his love.
He will rejoice over you with singing."
I especially liked delivering the last phrase. Just think, God will rejoice over us with singing. Isn't that good news?
I am wondering what young Josiah will do as king. Will he be a good king like Hezekiah or a bad king?
1. Who is Zephaniah?
2. Had the people of Judah obeyed God?
3. Why or why not?
4. Who is the new king?
5. How old is he?
6. Why is Zephaniah helping the king?
7. Did you know God sings?