When did you last hear a sermon based on a passage from the prophecy of Zephaniah? This is one of the most neglected books in the whole Bible. It was delivered and written after many years of silence from God. The northern kingdom of Israel, or Ephraim, had already been deported by Assyria, never to return. The prophecy of Zephaniah was to be the last given before Judah, the southern kingdom, was taken away into Babylon for around seventy years of exile. Here is an easy-to-read treatment of the prophecy which draws clear lines of practical application from the situation then to our fast-paced modern life, especially showing how the prophecy points to the only hope of salvation from God’s judgement: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Michael Bentley worked as a bookshop manager and served in the British army before his call to the ministry. He has a diverse background, which includes freelance religious reporting for national and religious radio and television, being a Religious Education teacher, and holding pastorates in Surrey, South East London, and Berkshire. He is also closely involved with his local community as a member of various committees and councils. His hobbies include singing second bass in the Bracknell Choral Society. Now retired, he still preaches regularly and has a ministry of writing, with some thirteen books in print including Opening Up Amos and Face2face: David. He lives in Bracknell with his wife, Jenny, and has five children and eight grandchildren.
In an increasingly erratic world, where values and standards can change on a whim, solid sensible advice is desperately required. Michael Bentley’s timely book is a breath of fresh air, because it clearly focuses the mind on a valuable portion of God’s Word. Zephaniah is not a dreary text to be consigned to the waste bin of irrelevance, but a vibrant living call to a world in need. Here are wisdom, correction and warnings that need to be heard. May God be pleased to give us ears to hear what he is saying as this book is opened up for us.
—Clive Anderson, Pastor of the Butts Church, Alton, Hampshire, England
The Minor Prophets, addressed to a people in transition and spiritual neglect, present God’s vital message for today’s post-modern culture facing, as it does, the potential of major disaster ecologically, financially and spiritually. Michael Bentley helps both church member and leader to see how Zephaniah enables us to address contemporary issues in society and church. The book presents an outstanding balance between a style that is easily read and an experienced study of the context. This commentary is both relevant and challenging and is an excellent book for use for personal devotion or group study.
—Dr Brian Meardon, Vicar of St Michael’s Parish Church, Warfield, Bracknell, England
Speak the word ‘prophet’ and the words ‘weird’ and ‘mad’ usually come to mind. Prophets are not popular in the popular mind, except maybe to be good for a laugh. Michael Bentley’s study of the forgotten prophet Zephaniah blows all that away. He shows us that the great purpose of the prophet is not to spread gloom and doom and merely tell us we’re all going to die and go to hell, but to point us to God’s sending of a Saviour, Jesus Christ, to save sinners like you and me. The good news shines from every page. Read it. Study it. Share it. And follow the prophet to the cross of Jesus Christ.
—Gordon Keddie, Pastor of Southside Reformed Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and author of numerous books and Bible commentaries.