Same God, Same Plan
What are you thankful for today? Spend some time thanking God.
Read Zephaniah 3:1–13
Woe to the city of oppressors,
rebellious and defiled!
2 She obeys no one,
she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
she does not draw near to her God.
3 Her officials within her
are roaring lions;
her rulers are evening wolves,
who leave nothing for the morning.
4 Her prophets are unprincipled;
they are treacherous people.
Her priests profane the sanctuary
and do violence to the law.
5 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
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 refuge would not be destroyed,
nor all my punishments come upon her.
But they were still eager
to act corruptly in all they did.
8 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.
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.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush
my worshipers, my scattered people,
will bring me offerings.
11 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.
12 But I will leave within you
the meek and humble.
The remnant of Israel
will trust in the name of the Lord.
13 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.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Sometimes there seems such a contrast between the Old Testament God of judgment and the New Testament God of love. Yet here we see that the Lord takes no pleasure in judgment. It is not destruction for destruction’s sake, but rather to create the “shalom” described in the second part of the passage (9–13). There is a sense of sorrow and longing that rings out through the pronouncements of anger and judgment. God has remained faithful to his people (5) and has not abandoned them. He longs to draw them to repentance (7a).
It is the Lord himself who purifies people (9) and removes their shame (11). He does not expect people to come already pure and perfect; God simply seeks from around the world those who want to worship him. This is a foreshadowing of the Good News of the New Testament. Our part is simply to choose to come and worship. In Christ, it is God who purifies us and takes away our shame.
What Zephaniah is describing is part of God’s great plan throughout history which was begun in Israel, advanced through Jesus’ first coming, and will be fulfilled when he comes again. The latter part of this passage is reminiscent of Jesus’ declaration that the meek will inherit the earth (12; Matt. 5:5).
Are you trying to purify yourself to become “acceptable” to God? Or have you allowed him to do his purifying work in you?
What does it mean to you that the God of the Old Testament is the same God we worship today? Pray about your responses.
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