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  • Writer's pictureLaura Neal

June 25th, 2023: Renewed in God’s Love- Zephaniah 3:14-20

Think of a wedding ceremony. For most of us, it is the most sacred and serious ceremony we will ever take part in. The majority will take months to plan and prepare every element to ensure that the details correctly represent the importance of the occasion. Fundamentally, a wedding is a public observance of promises. Everything else pales in comparison to the seriousness of the vows made. Many mistakenly believe that wedding vows are made by one spouse to the other, but actually, historically, all marital vows were promises made before and to God. Like all covenants, biblical and otherwise, it is important to know who is speaking to whom, as well as what is being pledged.

In the book of Zephaniah, God makes many promises through the prophet at the time of King Josiah’s reign, nearing the time of captivity. King Josiah was a good king, and during his reign, there was a brief period of reform and repentance in the kingdom of Judah. The prophet Zepahiah played a critical role in turning things around for this brief time, and his name means hidden by God, as in protected from judgment. After Josiah’s death, the nation returned to error in full force, and the promises God made about their destruction began to be fulfilled.

For us to apply correctly the lessons found in this book, it is crucial to understand to whom the promises are made. In the first two chapters, God is warning of the judgment and severe punishment coming to those who are living in open rebellion against Him. In the third chapter God makes promises to the remnant of faithful believers. The reassurance starting in verse fourteen is promised to those who are following God and those who will turn to Him in repentance with their whole heart. Those who serve God today in the middle of an evil and corrupt generation can be encouraged by the following passage that God will indeed judge sin, but He will not abandon those who He calls His own. We can rest safely in the peace and protection of God’s promises for our future.

14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

15 The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.

Without a doubt, God will judge the sin being committed in our country and around the world today. By comparison, our wickedness has far surpassed that of Israel and Judah. A storm is coming that will not be stopped by our amassed wealth or political alliances. We will not be able to prepare ourselves enough to withstand the judgment of God. But, when the storm is over, those who have put their lives in God’s hand and trust Him with their eternity will still be standing. Actually, they will sing. In chapter two of Zephaniah the prophet points out that the majority of the people in his day did not believe that God would do anything good or bad. They had started to believe that they were in control and that God wasn’t relevant to their lives. They found out how wrong they were when Babylonian armies crushed Jerusalem, leveled the temple, and decimated the people. Astonishingly, men like Daniel, Ezekiel, and Mordechai would find that although their world was turned upside down by powerful forces, that they were still standing when the storm was over, not just standing, but they were blessed.

17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.

19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.

20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.

Nothing in God’s economy is wasted. To understand what God is up to requires knowing that the desire of His heart is to be known by His people. Everything He allows is for the purpose of showing His goodness and glory to all who would turn to Him. He desires to bless us. God is holy, and God is righteous. His justice will never leave cruelty and sin unanswered. He will stand eternally against what is wrong, and He embodies everything that is right. The wrath of God toward sin was poured out on the Son of God as He suffered on a cruel Roman cross because it is impossible for us to receive His grace without the payment of sin being received. We will be able to stand and withstand the judgment of God only by accepting the grace of God through the salvation of Jesus Christ.

We will be able to stand and withstand the jugdment of God only by accepting the grace of God through the salvation of Jesus Christ.

In Christ, we are enabled to sing, to rejoice, to be freed from the prison of our sin. The promises of God for goodness and eternal life are only made to those who bow their knee to Him and confess that Jesus is the Son of God. If you reject God’s offer of grace, you may expect to receive the same consequences that all the enemies of God have been promised and what they have received repeatedly over the course of history. Your salvation will bring glory to God for His mercy, or your destruction will bring glory to God through His victory, it’s up to you to determine which set of promises you can expect to receive.

I Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Acts 17:31

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

John 12:48

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Thank you for studying with us! God bless!



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