Zephaniah 3:1-20 NIV
1Woe to the city of oppressors,
rebellious and defiled!
2She obeys no one,
she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
she does not draw near to her God.
3Her officials within her
are roaring lions;
her rulers are evening wolves,
who leave nothing for the morning.
4Her prophets are unprincipled;
they are treacherous people.
Her priests profane the Sanctuary
and do violence to the law.
5The Lord within her is Righteous;
He does no wrong.
Morning by morning He dispenses His Justice,
and every new day He does not fail,
yet the unrighteous know no shame.
Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant
6“I have destroyed nations;
their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
with no one passing through.
Their cities are laid waste;
they are deserted and empty.
7 Of Jerusalem I thought,
‘Surely you will fear Me
and accept correction!’
Then her place of refugea would not be destroyed,
nor all My punishments come uponb her.
But they were still eager
to act corruptly in all they did.
8Therefore wait for Me,”
declares the Lord,
“for the day I will stand up to testify.c
I have decided to assemble the nations,
to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out My Wrath on them—
all My fierce Anger.
The whole world will be consumed
by the fire of My jealous Anger.
Restoration of Israel’s Remnant
9“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the Name of the Lord
and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.
My worshipers, My scattered people,
will bring Me offerings.
11On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame
for all the wrongs you have done to Me,
because I will remove from you
your arrogant boasters.
Never again will you be haughty
on My Holy Hill.
12But I will leave within you
the meek and humble.
The remnant of Israel
will trust in the Name of the Lord.
13They will do no wrong;
they will tell no lies.
A deceitful tongue
will not be found in their mouths.
They will eat and lie down
and no one will make them afraid.”
14Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
15The Lord has taken away your punishment,
He has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
16On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior Who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His Love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
18“I will remove from you
all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
which is a burden and reproach for you.
19At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they have suffered shame.
20At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunese
before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.
3:1-8 The Holy God hates sin most in those nearest to Him. A sinful state is, and will be, a woeful state. Yet they had the tokens of God's Presence, and all the advantages of knowing His Will, with the strongest reasons to do it; still they persisted in disobedience. Those men often are more active in doing wickedness than believers are in doing good.
3:9-13 The preaching of the Gospel is predicted, when vengeance would be executed on the Jewish nation. The purifying doctrines of the Gospel, or the pure language of the Grace of the Lord, would teach men to use the language of humility, repentance, and faith. Purity and piety in common conversation is good. The pure and happy state of the church in the latter days seems intended. Yet the Lord will shut out boasting, and leave men nothing to glory in, but the Lord Jesus, as made of God to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
3:14-20 After the promises of taking away sin, follow promises of taking away trouble. When the cause is removed, the effect will cease. What makes a people holy, will make them happy. The precious promises made to the purified people, were to have full accomplishment in the Gospel. These verses appear chiefly to relate to the future conversion and restoration of Israel, and the glorious times which are to follow. They show the abundant peace, comfort, and prosperity of the church, in the happy times yet to come.
He will save; He will be Jesus; He will answer the name, for He will save His people from their sins. Before the glorious times foretold, believers would be sorrowful, and objects of reproach. But the Lord will save the weakest believer, and cause true Christians to be greatly honored where they had been treated with contempt.
One act of mercy and grace shall serve, both to gather Israel out of their dispersions and to lead them to their own land. Then will God's Israel be made a name and praise to eternity. The events alone can fully answer the language of this prophecy. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but they may rejoice in God's Love. Surely our hearts should honor the Lord, and rejoice in Him when we hear such words of condescension and grace.
If now kept from His ordinances, it is our trial and grief; but in due time we shall be gathered into His Temple above. The glory and happiness of the believer will be perfect, unchangeable, and eternal, when he is freed from earthly sorrows, and brought to heavenly bliss.