“Cheer up, don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you in great gladness; He will love you and not accuse you.” Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song.
Zephaniah 3:16-18 TLB
Thoughts on today's verse...
Not being all that familiar with the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah, I looked up some information in an online commentary:
Brief Summary: Zephaniah pronounces the Lord’s judgment on the whole earth, on Judah, on the surrounding nations, on Jerusalem and on all nations. This is followed by proclamations of the Lord’s blessing on all nations and especially on the faithful remnant of His people in Judah.
Zephaniah had the courage to speak bluntly because he knew he was proclaiming the Word of the Lord. His book begins with "The word of the Lord" and ends with "says the Lord." He knew that neither the many gods the people worshiped nor even the might of the Assyrian army could not save them. God is gracious and compassionate, but when all His warnings are ignored, judgment is to be expected. God's day of judgment is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. The prophets called it the "Day of the Lord." They referred to various events such as the fall of Jerusalem as manifestations of God's Day, each of which pointed toward the ultimate Day of the Lord.
Practical Application: With a few adjustments in names and situations, this prophet of 7th century B.C. could stand in our pulpits today and deliver the same message of judgment of the wicked and hope for the faithful. Zephaniah reminds us that God is offended by the moral and religious sins of His people. God's people will not escape punishment when they sin willfully. Punishment may be painful, but its purpose may be redemptive rather than punitive. The inevitability of the punishment of wickedness gives comfort in a time when it seems that evil is unbridled and victorious. We have the freedom to disobey God but not the freedom to escape the consequences of that disobedience. Those who are faithful to God may be relatively few, but He does not forget them.
I especially like the statement that "punishment may be painful, but its purpose may be redemptive rather than punitive." Isn't that what we try to do as parents? Sometimes, most times inadequately, but it is our goal to correct and have the child 'turn away' from the inappropriate action. In our Christian circles, we call that repentence.
Lord God, Creator of all heaven and earth... hear my prayer. Like today's verse in Zephaniah, may we have victory in our lives. May we repent from those rebellious act we commit and for those actions that we omit... by turning away from those issues that concern You. May You rejoyce over us in gladness and may we hear Your songs of praise! In Jesus' name ~Amen.
Yours, because we're His,