Doing No Wrong
Thank God for sending the Holy Spirit, who dwells within you by grace and purifies you from within.
Read Zephaniah 3:1-13
Jerusalem Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled!  She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD, she does not draw near to her God.  Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning.  Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.  The 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 “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.  Of Jerusalem I thought, ‘Surely you will fear me and accept correction!’ Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.  Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, “for the day I will stand up to testify. 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.  “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.  From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings.  On 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.  But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the LORD.  They 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.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is Zephaniah's prophecy for Jerusalem?
After pronouncing God’s judgment on Israel’s neighbors (cf. 2:4-15), Zephaniah now does a clever thing. Chapter 3 gives no indication that he has changed the subject, and the impression is given that Nineveh continues to be addressed. Only gradually are hints dropped with the mention of prophets and priests (4), and then, to make it quite clear that he is addressing his words to Jerusalem, Zephaniah gives the game away with “the Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong” (5). He draws his hearers/readers into the story before they realize that his words are for them, not for the people of Nineveh. The message to Jerusalem comes in two parts. Verses 1-8 are accusations of the kind we have become used to from the prophets. But the mood changes radically in 9-13. Here we have God’s mercy outstripping his justice. From being a judge, he becomes a savior. This remarkable transformation begins with the purification of the lips (9). Where else can you recall God beginning with our lips? Look at Jeremiah 1:9; Isaiah 6:7; Ezekiel 3:3. Can you think of any parallels in the New Testament?
How does your speech reflect your relationship with God? Do you use your mouth for both cursing and praising?
Ask God to consecrate your lips and your speaking to his service, and to protect you from sin.
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