Zephaniah & Haggai – Punishments and Priorities

Bill Blurb: The two short books (total of five chapters) in this post provide an educational contrast. Zephaniah details the destruction of the near and distant Day of the Lord, before the exile, in which the people are not responsive. Haggai describes the difficulties of the post exile community in placing God as their number one priority, and their responsiveness to His prophetic reproof. Responsive people who are short on time could skim Zephaniah and focus on the priority lessons in Haggai.

Psalm 114:1-8 Scared Sea and Skipping Mountains
Ps 114:1 “When Israel went forth out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign language; 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea saw it, and fled. The Jordan was driven back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like lambs. 5 What was it, you sea, that you fled? You Jordan, that you turned back? 6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams; you little hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, you earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of waters."

Observations: 114:1-3 This second of the Hallel Praise Psalms (previous post) recalls God's deliverance of the nation of Israel from Egypt (sea) into the Promised Land (Jordan), so He could dwell in the midst of them (sanctuary) and rule over them (dominion).
114:4-7 The quaking mountains recall the presence of God in giving of the Law at Sinai, when He made the Mosaic Covenant with His people, as the basis of blessing in the land. His presence in the Tabernacle and Temple was always in conjunction with the Covenant. (His cloud hung out above the Ark of the Covenant.)
114:8 The psalm continues the water motif, ending with God's supernatural care of His people, in bring water out of rocks for them.

Application: In fulfilling His promises, God supernaturally makes it possible for us to dwell in His presence and under His rule.

Prayer: God, thanks that You desire to dwell with Your people, and that You provide all the power necessary to make it happen; may my heart be Your sanctuary. Amen.

Proverbs 25:23-28 Words and Walls
Pr 23:23 The north wind brings forth rain: so a backbiting tongue brings an angry face. 24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than to share a house with a contentious woman.
25 Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. 26 Like a muddied spring, and a polluted well, so is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat much honey; nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor. 28 Like a city that is broken down and without walls is a man whose spirit is without restraint."

Observations: 25:23-28 This section has a consequence, a “better” and a “not so good,” and three similes (“like” or “as” make you smile). Like the north wind brings rain, so secret slander brings an unhappy camper. Backbiting words come back to bite the gossip (cf Luke 12:3), so make sure whatever you say would be appropriate to say to a person's face, when they can respond and defend themselves. Speaking of words, a contentious woman (is usually unloved and bitter) and drives away the one who could love her with vinegar words (try honey, Honey). They also cut themselves off from the only One who can totally meet their needs. Escaping to the attic is not exhibiting manly leadership (try golf), but an understanding and implementing the marriage communications on Truthbase.net is exhibiting Biblical leadership.
Hearing good news about things that are outside your control is refreshing. But when a righteous man gives way before the wicked (or escapes to the attic) he becomes like a polluted well or muddied spring (he loses his righteousness).
Seeking one's honor in this life isn't honorable nor good, it's better to seek the honor that comes from God. Remember the sluggard from the end of the last post/proverb? Well, here's a follow-up: unless one develops self-restraint (where else are you going to get it, you have to build it) they are like a city without wall, that any invader or robber could pillage. The sluggard doesn't takes steps to shore up their spiritual defenses by focusing on the right things and fleeing temptation (this is when it is a good idea to escape to beyond the attic). Thus they will suffer loss and lack fruitfulness.

Application: Being steadfast in taking corrective and defensive measures ensures a life that is far better than it would be otherwise. Your choice.

Prayer: Lord, please help me focus on developing the relational and spiritual skills that will enable me to live this life as You intended, and reap Your honor. Amen.


Zephaniah 1-4 The Day of the Lord, when God executes judgment, is the prominent theme in Zephaniah. Written in the days of boy-king Josiah (probably before the discovery of the law), Zephaniah describes the imminent judgment of Judah for their wickedness, against the backdrop of God's world-wide housecleaning when the Messiah returns. People who want to be righteous (and don't like pain) will want to pay special attention to the sins God singles out for specific judgment (and avoid them). With an updated understanding of sensual Baal worship, the sins are as prevalent today as they were before the Babylonian exile.


Zephaniah 1 Doomsday List
1:1 The word of Yahweh which came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah. 2 I will utterly sweep away everything off of the surface of the earth, says Yahweh. 3 I will sweep away man and animal. I will sweep away the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, and the heaps of rubble with the wicked. I will cut off man from the surface of the earth, says Yahweh. 4 I will stretch out my hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place: the name of the idolatrous and pagan priests, 5 those who worship the hosts of the sky on the housetops, those who worship and swear by Yahweh and also swear by Malcam, 6 those who have turned back from following Yahweh, and those who haven’t sought Yahweh nor inquired after him. 7 Be silent at the presence of the Lord Yahweh, for the day of Yahweh is at hand. For Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice. He has consecrated his guests. 8 It will happen in the day of Yahweh’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, the king’s sons, and all those who are clothed with foreign clothing. 9 In that day, I will punish all those who leap over the threshold, who fill their master’s house with violence and deceit. 10 In that day, says Yahweh, there will be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, a wailing from the second quarter, and a great crashing from the hills. 11 Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the people of Canaan are undone! All those who were loaded with silver are cut off. 12 It will happen at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, "Yahweh will not do good, neither will he do evil." 13 Their wealth will become a spoil, and their houses a desolation. Yes, they will build houses, but won’t inhabit them. They will plant vineyards, but won’t drink their wine. 14 The great day of Yahweh is near. It is near, and hurries greatly, the voice of the day of Yahweh. The mighty man cries there bitterly. 15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 16 a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements. 17 I will bring distress on men, that they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against Yahweh, and their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Yahweh’s wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he will make an end, yes, a terrible end, of all those who dwell in the land.

Observations: 1:1-18 In the day when God executes judgment, it's a good idea to be somewhere else. This apparently has both a near and far fulfillment; the near against Judah, and the more distant described in Revelation (Tribulation). It's worth noting those who are particularly singled out for destruction, so we aren't like them:
1:4 Those who engage in sensual pagan worship;
1:5 Those who worship Yahweh and their job, or pleasure or money or status or security or success;
1:6a Those who have turned back from doing what they know is right (James 4:17);
1:6b Those who don't seek God's will and wisdom but do what they want so they'll prosper;
1:8 Those who wear foreign designer labels (just kidding). This probably refers to embracing values and customs not in accordance with the law (Numbers 15:37-41);
1:9 Those who deal violently, unjustly, and deceitfully to gain temporal benefits;
1:12 God will specifically search out and punish those who complacently deny God's justice, saying He won't bless or curse. This is a hallmark of ancient and modern false teachers who deny that God judges His people.
1:13-18 The resulting judgments will deny them the fruit of their self-centered pursuits, and nothing will save them from their terrible doom.

Application: You've got a good list of things for which God has promised to judge His people; would your name be able to be placed next to any of them by an avenging angel?

Prayer: Gracious and Great God, may none of the above things which displease You and will result in my discipline, have any place in my life. Show me the errors of my ways, and guide me into the goodness of Your paths. Thanks. Amen.

Zephaniah 2 Humbly Seek Exaltation
2:1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, you nation that has no shame, 2 before the appointed time when the day passes as the chaff, before the fierce anger of Yahweh comes on you, before the day of Yahweh’s anger comes on you. 3 Seek Yahweh, all you humble of the land, who have kept his ordinances. Seek righteousness. Seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of Yahweh’s anger. 4 For Gaza will be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation. They will drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron will be rooted up. 5 Woe to the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of Yahweh is against you, Canaan, the land of the Philistines. I will destroy you, that there will be no inhabitant. 6 The sea coast will be pastures, with cottages for shepherds and folds for flocks. 7 The coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah. They will find pasture. In the houses of Ashkelon, they will lie down in the evening, for Yahweh, their God, will visit them, and restore them. 8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the insults of the children of Ammon, with which they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border. 9 Therefore as I live, says Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel, surely Moab will be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, a possession of nettles, and salt pits, and a perpetual desolation. The remnant of my people will plunder them, and the survivors of my nation will inherit them. 10 This they will have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of Yahweh of Hosts. 11 Yahweh will be awesome to them, for he will famish all the gods of the land. Men will worship him, everyone from his place, even all the shores of the nations. 12 You Cushites also, you will be killed by my sword. 13 He will stretch out his hand against the north, destroy Assyria, and will make Nineveh a desolation, as dry as the wilderness. 14 Herds will lie down in the midst of her, all the animals of the nations. Both the pelican and the porcupine will lodge in its capitals. Their calls will echo through the windows. Desolation will be in the thresholds, for he has laid bare the cedar beams. 15 This is the joyous city that lived carelessly, that said in her heart, "I am, and there is none besides me." How she has become a desolation, a place for animals to lie down in! Everyone who passes by her will hiss, and shake their fists.

Observations: 2:1-3 The humble are those who dependently walk with God (Micah 6:8) and seek His ways rather than their own. Seeking righteousness and humility are doable commands. Those who do so, will be hidden from God's anger, rather than sought out and destroyed as will be the “worshipers” of Yahweh in the previous section.
2:4-7 God will destroy Judah's enemies, and cause the righteous remnant to dwell in safe pastures.
2:8-15 Assyria, the dominant world power which took the northern kingdom into captivity in 722BC is singled out among the proud nations which God will destroy. Nineveh, its capital will be desolate for proudly thinking of themselves as above all others. The Day of the Lord is a great leveler.

Application: Humbly seeking God's will and developing righteousness are the path to exaltation.

Prayer: God, may I make every decision in a manner that demonstrates humility and my desire to please You; may I see Your way clearly and not be deceived into following the devil's desire. Amen.

Zephaniah 3 Retribution and Restoration
3:1 Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, the oppressing city! 2 She didn’t obey the voice. She didn’t receive correction. She didn’t trust in Yahweh. She didn’t draw near to her God. 3 Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions. Her judges are evening wolves. They leave nothing until the next day. 4 Her prophets are arrogant and treacherous people. Her priests have profaned the sanctuary. They have done violence to the law. 5 Yahweh, in the midst of her, is righteous. He will do no wrong. Every morning he brings his justice to light. He doesn’t fail, but the unjust know no shame. 6 I have cut off nations. Their battlements are desolate. I have made their streets waste, so that no one passes by. Their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, so that there is no inhabitant. 7 I said, "Just fear me. Receive correction, so that her dwelling won’t be cut off, according to all that I have appointed concerning her." But they rose early and corrupted all their doings. 8 "Therefore wait for me," says Yahweh, "until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth will be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. 9 For then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call on the name of Yahweh, to serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10 From beyond the rivers of Cush, my worshipers, even the daughter of my dispersed people, will bring my offering. 11 In that day you will not be disappointed for all your doings, in which you have transgressed against me; for then I will take away out of the midst of you your proudly exulting ones, and you will no more be haughty in my holy mountain. 12 But I will leave in the midst of you an afflicted and poor people, and they will take refuge in the name of Yahweh. 13 The remnant of Israel will not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth, for they will feed and lie down, and no one will make them afraid." 14 Sing, daughter of Zion! Shout, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem. 15 Yahweh has taken away your judgments. He has thrown out your enemy. The King of Israel, Yahweh, is in the midst of you. You will not be afraid of evil any more. 16 In that day, it will be said to Jerusalem, "Don’t be afraid, Zion. Don’t let your hands be weak." 17 Yahweh, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. 18 I will remove those who grieve about the appointed feasts from you. They are a burden and a reproach to you. 19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all those who afflict you, and I will save those who are lame, and gather those who were driven away. I will give them praise and honor, whose shame has been in all the earth. 20 At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says Yahweh.

Observations: 3:1-7 Woe/judgment is pronounced upon God's rebellious people who are unholy and unjust. They:
  • don't obey God's revelation;
  • nor received correction;
  • nor trust in God for their peace and prosperity;
  • nor draw near to Him in intimate dependence.
The civil and religious leaders are arrogant, prideful and self-serving, shredding the law by their lifestyles. They have refused correction and refused to repent. Yet God has modeled for them justice and righteousness which they shamefully ignore.
3:8-20 The day of reckoning, which God has determined, draws near. He will pour out His just wrath on all wickedness, not just in Israel, and purify the lips and lives of people to call upon His name in holiness. After judging His people (in the near term in Babylon) He will regather His people (an act of mercy and grace). The judgment will purify them of pride, iniquity, lies and deceit. Then they will dwell in peace, and God will dwell in the midst of them to ensure their peace and prosperity. He will give His holy ones glory and honor.

Application: Don't refuse correction if you don't want retribution.

Prayer: Righteous and Mighty God, You are so gracious to warn of judgment, and not abandon Your people who ignored You. May I be receptive and repentant and experience the wealth of Your blessings rather than Your wrath. Thanks for Your grace. Amen.


Haggai 1-2 Contrasted with Zephaniah's audience, the remnant that returned from the Babylonian exile to rebuild, was responsive to the word of God, but still needed to be reprimanded for their lack of zeal in obeying God's word. They were busy doing their own thing rather than God's thing (Hey, this could be modern times!). But all their efforts weren't yielding fruit nor satisfaction, in fact, God was thwarting their efforts to get their attention so they could deal with their sin. God promises the Desire of Nations will come to the rebuilt temple and establish peace between God and man, and then come to establish peace on earth (after He sweeps in clean). See rebuilding timeline under Digging Deeper.



Haggai 1 Consider Your Ways
1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, the Word of Yahweh came by Haggai, the prophet, to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 2 "This is what Yahweh of Hosts says: These people say, ‘The time hasn’t yet come, the time for Yahweh’s house to be built.’" 3 Then the Word of Yahweh came by Haggai, the prophet, saying, 4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies waste? 5 Now therefore this is what Yahweh of Hosts says: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and bring in little. You eat, but you don’t have enough. You drink, but you aren’t filled with drink. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm, and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes in it." 7 This is what Yahweh of Hosts says: "Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, bring wood, and build the house. I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified," says Yahweh. 9 "You looked for much, and, behold, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says Yahweh of Hosts, "Because of my house that lies waste, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore for your sake the heavens withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on that which the ground brings forth, on men, on livestock, and on all the labor of the hands." 12 Then Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of Yahweh, their God, and the words of Haggai, the prophet, as Yahweh, their God, had sent him; and the people feared Yahweh. 13 Then Haggai, Yahweh’s messenger, spoke Yahweh’s message to the people, saying, "I am with you," says Yahweh. 14 Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of Yahweh of Hosts, their God, 15 in the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

Observations: 1:1-11 The people had returned from exile with the mandate to rebuild God's house, but self-centeredly devoted their attention to their interests rather than God. Therefore, He didn't bless their efforts, but even undermined them to get their attention. We're suppose to seek Him first. But the people has sagaciously said, “Not yet time.” How did they know that? God said otherwise. The sin giving God second place is still sin, even when dressed up in “pious wisdom.”
1:12-15 In contrast to the pre-exilic population, the people repented and obeyed and feared God. (Stop the presses! God's people get it right!) Then, after the volitional commitment to obey, God stirred up their spirits, giving them a supernatural boost to do His work. Zurabbabel and Joshua, in contrast to the civil and religious leaders before the exile, are portrayed as good guys, in need of extra encouragement in light of the difficulties of the situation, and the indifference of the people.

Application: Sowing much and reaping little is a sign of doing our thing rather than God's thing; considering our ways and repenting is the path to blessing.

Prayer: God, may I be gung-ho about advancing Your work and glory, and not passionate about the paneling in my house at the expense of loyally obeying You. Amen.

Haggai 2 Beauty Out of the Ruins
2:1 In the seventh month, in the twenty-first day of the month, the Word of Yahweh came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 2 "Speak now to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Isn’t it in your eyes as nothing? 4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says Yahweh. ‘Be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ says Yahweh, ‘and work, for I am with you,’ says Yahweh of Hosts. 5 This is the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, and my Spirit lived among you. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ 6 For this is what Yahweh of Hosts says: ‘Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations. The Desire of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory, says Yahweh of Hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ says Yahweh of Hosts. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says Yahweh of Hosts; ‘and in this place will I give peace,’ says Yahweh of Hosts." 10 In the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the Word of Yahweh came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 "Thus says Yahweh of Hosts: Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with his fold touches bread, stew, wine, oil, or any food, will it become holy?’" The priests answered, "No." 13 Then Haggai said, "If one who is unclean by reason of a dead body touch any of these, will it be unclean?" The priests answered, "It will be unclean." 14 Then Haggai answered, "’So is this people, and so is this nation before me,’ says Yahweh; ‘and so is every work of their hands. That which they offer there is unclean. 15 Now, please consider from this day and backward, before a stone was laid on a stone in the temple of Yahweh. 16 Through all that time, when one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty, there were only twenty. 17 I struck you with blight, mildew, and hail in all the work of your hands; yet you didn’t turn to me,’ says Yahweh. 18 ‘Consider, please, from this day and backward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, since the day that the foundation of Yahweh’s temple was laid, consider it. 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Yes, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree haven’t brought forth. From this day will I bless you.’" 20 The Word of Yahweh came the second time to Haggai in the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, 21 "Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, ‘I will shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations. I will overthrow the chariots, and those who ride in them. The horses and their riders will come down, everyone by the sword of his brother. 23 In that day, says Yahweh of Hosts, will I take you, Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says Yahweh, ‘and will make you as a signet, for I have chosen you,’ says Yahweh of Hosts."

Observations: 2:1-9 When the foundation of the temple was laid, the older people who had seen the glory of Solomon's temple were discouraged at the smaller second temple.
Ezra 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.
Lesson #1 is that sin has enduring consequences. God destroyed the first temple (after repeated warnings) because of their sin.
Lesson #2 is that God is able to make something beautiful out of the ruins if we submit to Him. Glory is not just a matter of silver and gold, but God would make the glory of the second temple greater than Solomon's. The Desire of Nations (the Messiah) would come to this smaller temple, and it was here that the curtain would be ripped apart and peace would be made between God and the people who accepted His provision for their sin (See John 3).
2:10-19 Now that they are giving God first place in their lives, God will give them blessings. He first establishes the principle that unholiness contaminates everything, and doing something good doesn't make everything else holy, but just the opposite. Not obeying God (and the first commandment) makes everything else we do unacceptable to Him, and as a result, we find little where we expected much. That's the opposite of being blessed, called being cursed. But by committing to obedience first, they put themselves in a place where God could bless them. Haggai predicts the fruitfulness and blessings God would bring in response to their obedience.
2:20-23 In a final oracle, God informs Haggai of the day when He will shake the nations and destroy their power structure (demonic throne?) and their military might. In that day Zerubbabel will be as a signet (a ring used to express the authority of a king), because Yahweh has chosen him. God had chosen Zerubbabel not only in the sense of being appointed by Cyrus (Ezra 1:8) but in being an ancestor, in the Davidic line, of the Messiah (Matthew 1:12). The overthrow of the throne of the kingdoms and the strength of the kingdoms of the nations didn't happen in Zerubbabel's lifetime, nor in the Messiah's first coming, but will occur in the Day of the Lord described in the first chapter.

Application: If loyally obeying God is not our number one priority, everything else we do is pointless from the standpoint of fulfilling our purpose on earth and getting blessed, so that God is glorified.

Prayer: God, I will seek first Your kingdom (my reward in it – Matthew 6:33) and Your righteousness, and trust that You will bless with all that I would otherwise seek. Thanks for being so gracious in providing peace and prosperity; may I not lose it by putting my interests above Yours. Amen.


Digging Deeper:


God in a nutshell: God judges sin, both of His people and the nations. He particularly hates those who deny this truth about Him. He will withhold blessings and send cursings and disappointments to get our attention so we will repent and seek Him. He graciously restores the humble, but scars remain. He can use those scars for His glory, but Plan B is not usually better than Plan A. God will judge the entire earth, and set His glory above all else. 

Us in a nutshell: We can refuse to fear and obey God, and suffer the consequences, or repent and return to Him, and experience His blessings. Our sins will be judged, and we can't hide from judgment. Fortunately we can be hidden by God if we are humble and seek righteousness. If we fail to have our relationship with God as our number one priority we will experience disappointment and dissatisfaction in all our other endeavors. The converse is also true. Seeking God and His will every day, as our most important task, will result in Him providing all we need. 

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net


Zephaniah & Haggai complete text
Zephaniah 1
1:1 The word of Yahweh which came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah. 2 I will utterly sweep away everything off of the surface of the earth, says Yahweh. 3 I will sweep away man and animal. I will sweep away the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, and the heaps of rubble with the wicked. I will cut off man from the surface of the earth, says Yahweh. 4 I will stretch out my hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place: the name of the idolatrous and pagan priests, 5 those who worship the army of the sky on the housetops, those who worship and swear by Yahweh and also swear by Malcam, 6 those who have turned back from following Yahweh, and those who haven’t sought Yahweh nor inquired after him.
7 Be silent at the presence of the Lord Yahweh, for the day of Yahweh is at hand. For Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice. He has consecrated his guests. 8 It will happen in the day of Yahweh’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, the king’s sons, and all those who are clothed with foreign clothing. 9 In that day, I will punish all those who leap over the threshold, who fill their master’s house with violence and deceit. 10 In that day, says Yahweh, there will be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, a wailing from the second quarter, and a great crashing from the hills. 11 Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the people of Canaan are undone! All those who were loaded with silver are cut off. 12 It will happen at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, "Yahweh will not do good, neither will he do evil." 13 Their wealth will become a spoil, and their houses a desolation. Yes, they will build houses, but won’t inhabit them. They will plant vineyards, but won’t drink their wine.
14 The great day of Yahweh is near. It is near, and hurries greatly, the voice of the day of Yahweh. The mighty man cries there bitterly. 15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 16 a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements. 17 I will bring distress on men, that they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against Yahweh, and their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Yahweh’s wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he will make an end, yes, a terrible end, of all those who dwell in the land.

Zephaniah 2
2:1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, you nation that has no shame, 2 before the appointed time when the day passes as the chaff, before the fierce anger of Yahweh comes on you, before the day of Yahweh’s anger comes on you. 3 Seek Yahweh, all you humble of the land, who have kept his ordinances. Seek righteousness. Seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of Yahweh’s anger.
4 For Gaza will be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation. They will drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron will be rooted up. 5 Woe to the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of Yahweh is against you, Canaan, the land of the Philistines. I will destroy you, that there will be no inhabitant. 6 The sea coast will be pastures, with cottages for shepherds and folds for flocks. 7 The coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah. They will find pasture. In the houses of Ashkelon, they will lie down in the evening, for Yahweh, their God, will visit them, and restore them.
8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the insults of the children of Ammon, with which they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border. 9 Therefore as I live, says Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel, surely Moab will be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, a possession of nettles, and salt pits, and a perpetual desolation. The remnant of my people will plunder them, and the survivors of my nation will inherit them. 10 This they will have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of Yahweh of Hosts. 11 Yahweh will be awesome to them, for he will famish all the gods of the land. Men will worship him, everyone from his place, even all the shores of the nations.
12 You Cushites also, you will be killed by my sword. 13 He will stretch out his hand against the north, destroy Assyria, and will make Nineveh a desolation, as dry as the wilderness. 14 Herds will lie down in the midst of her, all the animals of the nations. Both the pelican and the porcupine will lodge in its capitals. Their calls will echo through the windows. Desolation will be in the thresholds, for he has laid bare the cedar beams. 15 This is the joyous city that lived carelessly, that said in her heart, "I am, and there is none besides me." How she has become a desolation, a place for animals to lie down in! Everyone who passes by her will hiss, and shake their fists.

Zephaniah 3
3:1 Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, the oppressing city! 2 She didn’t obey the voice. She didn’t receive correction. She didn’t trust in Yahweh. She didn’t draw near to her God. 3 Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions. Her judges are evening wolves. They leave nothing until the next day. 4 Her prophets are arrogant and treacherous people. Her priests have profaned the sanctuary. They have done violence to the law. 5 Yahweh, in the midst of her, is righteous. He will do no wrong. Every morning he brings his justice to light. He doesn’t fail, but the unjust know no shame. 6 I have cut off nations. Their battlements are desolate. I have made their streets waste, so that no one passes by. Their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, so that there is no inhabitant. 7 I said, "Just fear me. Receive correction, so that her dwelling won’t be cut off, according to all that I have appointed concerning her." But they rose early and corrupted all their doings.
8 "Therefore wait for me," says Yahweh, "until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth will be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. 9 For then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call on the name of Yahweh, to serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10 From beyond the rivers of Cush, my worshippers, even the daughter of my dispersed people, will bring my offering. 11 In that day you will not be disappointed for all your doings, in which you have transgressed against me; for then I will take away out of the midst of you your proudly exulting ones, and you will no more be haughty in my holy mountain. 12 But I will leave in the midst of you an afflicted and poor people, and they will take refuge in the name of Yahweh. 13 The remnant of Israel will not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth, for they will feed and lie down, and no one will make them afraid."
14 Sing, daughter of Zion! Shout, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem. 15 Yahweh has taken away your judgments. He has thrown out your enemy. The King of Israel, Yahweh, is in the midst of you. You will not be afraid of evil any more. 16 In that day, it will be said to Jerusalem, "Don’t be afraid, Zion. Don’t let your hands be weak." 17 Yahweh, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. 18 I will remove those who grieve about the appointed feasts from you. They are a burden and a reproach to you. 19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all those who afflict you, and I will save those who are lame, and gather those who were driven away. I will give them praise and honour, whose shame has been in all the earth. 20 At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will give you honour and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says Yahweh.

Haggai 1
1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, the Word of Yahweh came by Haggai, the prophet, to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 2 "This is what Yahweh of Hosts says: These people say, ‘The time hasn’t yet come, the time for Yahweh’s house to be built.’" 3 Then the Word of Yahweh came by Haggai, the prophet, saying, 4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies waste? 5 Now therefore this is what Yahweh of Hosts says: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and bring in little. You eat, but you don’t have enough. You drink, but you aren’t filled with drink. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm, and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes in it." 7 This is what Yahweh of Hosts says: "Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, bring wood, and build the house. I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified," says Yahweh. 9 "You looked for much, and, behold, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says Yahweh of Hosts, "Because of my house that lies waste, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore for your sake the heavens withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on that which the ground brings forth, on men, on livestock, and on all the labour of the hands."
12 Then Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of Yahweh, their God, and the words of Haggai, the prophet, as Yahweh, their God, had sent him; and the people feared Yahweh. 13 Then Haggai, Yahweh’s messenger, spoke Yahweh’s message to the people, saying, "I am with you," says Yahweh. 14 Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of Yahweh of Hosts, their God, 15 in the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

Haggai 2
2:1 In the seventh month, in the twenty-first day of the month, the Word of Yahweh came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 2 "Speak now to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Isn’t it in your eyes as nothing? 4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says Yahweh. ‘Be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ says Yahweh, ‘and work, for I am with you,’ says Yahweh of Hosts. 5 This is the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, and my Spirit lived among you. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ 6 For this is what Yahweh of Hosts says: ‘Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations. The precious things of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory, says Yahweh of Hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ says Yahweh of Hosts. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says Yahweh of Hosts; ‘and in this place will I give peace,’ says Yahweh of Hosts."
10 In the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the Word of Yahweh came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 "Thus says Yahweh of Hosts: Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with his fold touches bread, stew, wine, oil, or any food, will it become holy?’" The priests answered, "No." 13 Then Haggai said, "If one who is unclean by reason of a dead body touch any of these, will it be unclean?" The priests answered, "It will be unclean." 14 Then Haggai answered, "’So is this people, and so is this nation before me,’ says Yahweh; ‘and so is every work of their hands. That which they offer there is unclean. 15 Now, please consider from this day and backward, before a stone was laid on a stone in the temple of Yahweh. 16 Through all that time, when one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty, there were only twenty. 17 I struck you with blight, mildew, and hail in all the work of your hands; yet you didn’t turn to me,’ says Yahweh. 18 ‘Consider, please, from this day and backward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, since the day that the foundation of Yahweh’s temple was laid, consider it. 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Yes, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree haven’t brought forth. From this day will I bless you.’"
20 The Word of Yahweh came the second time to Haggai in the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, 21 "Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, ‘I will shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations. I will overthrow the chariots, and those who ride in them. The horses and their riders will come down, everyone by the sword of his brother. 23 In that day, says Yahweh of Hosts, will I take you, Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says Yahweh, ‘and will make you as a signet, for I have chosen you,’ says Yahweh of Hosts."