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Zephaniah’s Remarkable Prophetic Vision – Week 6 / February 5th
“Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and
rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has take away your judgments, He has cast
out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord is in your
midst; you shall see disaster no more. In that day it
shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear; Zion, let not
your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst,
the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with
gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice
over you with singing.”
This, infrequently preached upon book of the Hebrew Scriptures opens with a dire warning to Israel and indeed the world of impending judgment. The Day of the Lord is coming and it will “settle all scores” justly and “put the record straight’ based on truth. All people should fear since it is coming and the wickedness of our world is hastening its arrival. This is the one thing that surprises God because He knows nothing about wickedness because He is holy, sinless and perfect. Its intensity requires that God deal with it and even shorten the days (Matthew 24:22).
The prophet Zephaniah also has holds a message of burning judgment against Judah/Israel because of her rebellion against God and wickedness (1:18).
The only way of escape, not out of it but through it, will be:
1. To seek the Lord with determination.
2. To rejoice in justice and the doing of that which is right.
3. To embrace God’s righteousness; imputed and imparted….and,
4. To clothe oneself in humility.
The Day of the Lord fell upon Judah/Israel in 586 BC when the Babylonians invaded the land of Israel and destroyed Jerusalem with its beautiful temple. This is what God did to His heritage and He will do it again because He is the Lord and He does not change (3:8). Israel however, though she will be judged in part, will be saved out of a terrible judgment that is going to befall the whole world. She will, on that day, be a meek and humble people; free from terrorism, violence and war and she will become, and be, the admiration of the world and the recipients of its blessings (3:11-15)
Having painted this picture, the prophet then launches into a remarkable prophetic eulogy that recounts the goodness of God to Zion (3:14-20). The picture is one of a perfect and blessed restoration and it thus give us an insight into the remarkable love that God has for all His people including Church. Paul wrote that these have been written about Israel as an example of how God, by Jesus Christ, will deal with us (1 Corinthians 10:11).
In terms then of Israel; we are told that His people should:
1. Sing for joy….and;
2. Be strong in the Lord…..because God will:
3. Cast away their enemies.
4. Save them.
5. Rejoice and sing over them.
6. Gather them from all nations….and;
7. Give them fame.
Israel enjoys a destiny that is incredible and sure and her present trials will fade away as God her Savior delivers her and gives her true peace; that which is temporal and eternal. We are of course called to pray for her and we do so in the light that victory is sure and all nations will recognize it and proclaim it. What a great God we serve!
Also, these things are an encouragement for all of us since they teach us that God cares for us and loves us and; if we live as He by His grace in Christ enables us to live we too will enjoy His abundance joy and blessing. Our station in life is not determined by the world but by a God Who sent His only Son into the world to die for us. He spreads a table of good things before us in the presence of our enemies! (Psalm 23) Zephaniah’s vision is remarkable, blessed and fearsome. The state of our hearts will determine what part applies to us. Be strong in Jesus!
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries