Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes place during the early years of King Josiah’s reign, before he made his reforms. Zephaniah was a prophet to Judah during that time. Zephaniah prophesied about the Day of the Lord, when God will judge the world for its sin and Jesus Christ will return and make everything new.
Zephaniah’s prophecies were intended to get the attention of Judah. Read Zephaniah 1:14-18. Who could ignore those types of descriptions? The Day of the Lord will be universal and intense. Zephaniah made a call to action: turn back to God.
Zephaniah also described God’s promise of future restoration. A new day is coming—a day when God will bring us home. (Zephaniah 3:20) The new day dawned with Christ’s first coming, but will one day come in fullness. On the day that Jesus gathers His people and reigns in victory, this promise will ring true over us: “The Lord has removed your punishment; He has turned back your enemy. The King of Israel, Yahweh, is among you; you need no longer fear harm” (Zephaniah 3:15).
The final Day of the Lord is coming. Do not ignore the warnings of Zephaniah. Respond to Zephaniah’s admonition: “Seek the Lord … Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:3). If you are in Christ, you will be concealed from the Lord’s anger and experience the joy of a new day. We can look forward to and prepare for that new day. (See 2 Peter 3:13-14.) Jesus will be among us, a warrior who saves. “He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy” (Zephaniah 3:17).
Hold a family court. Direct each of your kids to find a stuffed animal, action hero, or doll. Guide the kids to think of something each of the “guilty persons” could have done wrong, and then bring each one before the judge (dad or mom). As judge, ask: “What did you do wrong? Are you sorry for what you have done? Will you do it again?” Allow each child to respond for his “accused person.” The judge can then decide if the “person” is guilty or not. After “court” is out of session, recall what Zechariah prophesied about the Day of the Lord. Remind your kids that the Day of the Lord was coming to Judah because of the people’s
continual sin and refusal to return to the Lord. On the Day of the Lord, those who do not follow Jesus will be judged, but those who believe and follow Jesus will be safe.
Ask: “How does that make you feel that some will be punished but those who know Jesus will be rewarded?” (See Rev. 11:18.) Know that Jesus loves all people and wants them to follow Him. When we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are now His and safe from His judgment. Jesus invites everyone to believe He loved us and died for us.
Pray, thanking God for sending Jesus that we can live forever with Him. Pray for those who do not know Jesus.