Excerpts from Zephaniah 3
“Therefore wait for Me,” declares the Lord, “For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour on all My anger, All My burning wrath; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal. For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder. In that day you will feel no shame because of all your deeds by which you have rebelled against Me.
I will leave among you a humble and lowly people, and they will take refuge in the name of the Lord. The remnant of Israel will do no wrong and tell no lies, Nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths; For they will feed and lie down and no one will make them tremble.
Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away His judgments against you. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more.
In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with dancing & shouts of joy."
I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth."
Zephaniah 3 Through the Jesus Lens
Notice God says that "I will rise up as a witness" that is talking about Jesus, God in the flesh. Revelation 1:5 & 3:14 call "Jesus Christ the trustworthy and true witness." Jesus said in John 18:37 that "He was born and came into the world to bear witness to the truth."
"I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth." We know that Jesus healed the lame & associated with outcasts. The crippled, the lepers, and the other outcasts lived in shame day to day because of their sin & physical problems. Jesus sent so many people away praising God when he healed them or forgave them. Because of scripture these people are still renown all over the world to this day. Interestingly the word "save" in the New Testament can also mean "heal" or "make whole."
God gathered the sins of "all nations and kingdoms" into the body of Christ and "poured out all His anger and wrath." The "sins of the world" were taken away (John 1:29), devoured by the fire of His passion against sin.
After that (the cross & resurrection) God gives everyone the ability to "call on the name of the Lord" without any barriers. He makes men righteous with His own righteousness so they now have "purified lips." We can "serve Him shoulder to shoulder!" That speaks not only of the indwelling Spirit of God but also the friendship between us and Christ. It also speaks of the equality of peoples in Christ's kingdom, no one is above another.
"In that day you will feel no shame(!) because of all your deeds by which you have rebelled against Me." This refers to our experience of trusting that Christ took away our sins and holds nothing against us. There is no need to feel guilt or shame. Thank you God!
"I will leave among you a humble and lowly people," This is how Christ walked on the earth while "taking refuge in the name (character, person) of the Lord."
"The remnant of Israel (Christians) will do no wrong and tell no lies, Nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths" This speaks of the sinless spirits born into children of God. Our true identity in Christ is our sinless spirits who do no wrong. 1 John 5:17-19 says, "All wrongdoing is sin. We know that anyone born of God does not sin (does no wrong). We know that we are children of God." Only our spirits are "born of God." We didn't physically crawl into another womb so this all refers to our "new creation," the spirits God has gifted us with.
"For they will feed and lie down and no one will make them tremble." This speak of Jesus becoming our Good/Great Shepherd, the guardian of our souls (mind, earthly life). This also reminds me of the boldness of those in Acts. They had no fear in spreading the Good News of what God has done for us through Jesus.
"The Lord has taken away His judgments (ordinances) against you." Colossians 2:14 tells us that Jesus, "Wiped out the written ordinances (God's Old Covenant laws) that were against us and that stood opposed to us. He took them away and nailed them to the cross." Ephesians 2:15 also tells us that "Jesus abolished in His flesh by His death on the cross the Law of commandments contained in ordinances." Not only was the requirement to keep the law taken away but Jesus also took God's punishments (judgments against us) for our sins.
"The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst." This speaks of Jesus coming to earth to live among people. The word "midst" here can not only mean "among" but also "in," "within," "in the inward/inner part," and even "in your body." So this also speaks of the miraculous indwelling of God in His people because of Jesus.
"You will fear disaster no more." 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment." We who have the Spirit of God living in us do not need to fear disaster or punishment from God. Romans 5:9 says, "Since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment."
But the "disaster" spoken of here may mean "evil." We no longer have to fear evil. 1 John 5:18 says, "Jesus keeps His people, and the evil one does not touch them." 1 John 5:4 says, "Whoever is born of God overcomes the world through trust." 2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, "The Lord is trustworthy & loyal. He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." 1 John 2:13-14 assures us that evil can be overcome.
"The Lord your God is a victorious warrior." Notice it says, "victorious warrior." Christ achieved that victory over sin and death on the cross!
"Shout for joy.. Shout in triumph.. Rejoice and exult with all your heart.." There are so many reasons just listed above for us to do this! What a foretelling of the grace and favor of God, but that is not all..
Behold God's View of You because of Jesus:
The Lord your God is with you. He takes great delight in you. He will comfort you with His love. In His love He will no longer mark you as immoral. He rejoices over you with singing and shouts of joy! He is so glad about knowing you that He twirls around dancing!
RecapThings Taken Away Because of Jesus:
The sins of the world
God holding sins against mankind
God's anger towards mankind
God punishing us
Shame & Guilt from past sin and rebellion against God
Shame & Guilt in General
God's Old Covenant Laws
Fear of punishment from God
Fear of evil
Fear in General
Things Given Because of Jesus:
Freedom for all people to call upon the Lord with no barriers
We are born of God, children of God, with a new righteous, sinless spirit (our "new man" or "new creation")
God lives inside us & is always with us
We work with God "shoulder to shoulder" in a cooperative walk of loving others.
We work with others "shoulder to shoulder" in a cooperative walk of loving others.
Equality of all God's followers
The spiritual traits of humility & honesty
Protection and security because of God's character
Jesus as our Great Shepherd who feeds us, gives us rest, guards us from fear, & guards our minds and lives
Boldness concerning our God
Reasons to thank God and rejoice
Victory over sin, the world, the evil one, and death
God's grace, His favor. He loves us so much He sings, shouts, and spins with delight over us!
Get the T-Shirt?
I don't intend to shill but I came across some of this scripture last year. I made and gave my wife's cousin this shirt for Christmas. So since I already made and its related I'll offer it here. You can get this women's shirt for around $21. Click on the image below to buy.