Zephaniah 3:14-17 ESV
“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
‘Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.’”
The Rebellious and Defiled
At the beginning of Zephaniah 3 it speaks of a people who are rebellious and defiled. They do not listen to God. They accept no correction. They do not trust in the Lord, and they do not draw near to God. Their leaders are like roaring lions and their judges are like evening wolves. Their prophets and teachers are treacherous and fickle. They profane what is holy. They do not obey the commands of God. And those who are unjust show no shame.
This could easily be said about America today, not describing every single person or pastor or teacher or ruler or church congregation, mind you, but it describes well the spiritual and moral condition of our nation and its people, as a whole, including the church and its leaders. And that is a very sad situation, indeed, which calls for much prayer to God for revival within our nation and for people to turn their hearts to God and to forsake their sins.
And then it speaks of God’s judgments of these people and of their lands and their cities, the purpose of which was that the people would repent of their idolatries and their adulteries, but all the more the people were eager to make all their deeds corrupt. And I also see this as a picture of America, for we had 9/11/01, and then we have had fires and floods and storms and sicknesses, and yet it appears that not many are repenting of their sins.
And then God declared that there would be a day coming when he would gather the nations, and when he would assemble kingdoms, and when he would pour out on them his indignation and all his burning anger, for in the fire of his jealousy, all the earth was to be consumed. But a remnant would be left to praise the Lord. And there was to be a revival. And God’s intention was that he would change many hearts and they would now serve him.
And I see that happening in our world now, not the revival part yet, though some people may be seeing this in some places, but I see how God is gathering all the nations and kingdoms together as one, and I see how he is judging the nations of this world one by one and collectively. And according to prophecy of Scripture, the worst is yet to come. But if our eyes are open, we can certainly see some of what our future holds for us in this world.
The Judgments Taken Away
Now many people today think that they can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and that automatically the judgments are taken away from them and now they are forgiven their sins and that they are on their way to heaven regardless of how they live their lives on this earth. But the Scriptures in no way, either in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, teach such a blasphemous gospel message.
The judgments are taken away only when we humble ourselves before the Lord, and we submit to him as Lord, and we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and when we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Forgiveness of sin takes place when we repent of our sins, when we turn from them, and when we turn to our Lord to now follow him in obedience to his commands.
The judgments are taken away when we allow the Lord Jesus to transform our hearts and minds and to move us away from our sinful practices to now walk in his holiness and righteousness. Now we serve him with one accord. We once walked in sin, but now we are walking in obedience to the ways of God. We have turned from telling lies and from our pride and from living in immorality and from evil deeds. And now we serve the Lord with our lives.
And now we can rejoice that the Lord has forgiven our sins and has removed from us his judgments against us. But we must continue in him steadfast till the end. We must now walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh but now according to the Spirit. Sin should no longer be our practice, but now righteousness and holiness are to be our practice. And daily by the Spirit we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh.
And one day he is going to take us home to be with him forever if we persist in following him with our lives and if we do not shrink back to destruction. For we are all going to be judged by what we do on this earth. And if we sow to please the flesh, we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap eternal life. For if we walk in sin we will die in our sin. We will not have eternal life with God. So, walk in his righteousness.
“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Rom 2:6-8).
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.