TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Today’s reading covers the entire book of Zephaniah, a book urging Judah to seek Yahweh before judgment comes. Follow this simple outline to the singing at the end:
1. God speaks to His people to warn them. The book begins with “The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah” (1:1) and ends with “Yahweh has spoken” (3:20). In between these verses are five expressions of “This is the Lord’s declaration” (1:2, 1:3, 1:10, 2:9, 3:8). Without question, this book is God’s speaking to His people. That He speaks to us at all is amazing. We cannot take that privilege for granted.
2. God judges people who do take Him for granted, especially those who are comfortable in their sin and think that God may not judge. In that light, I must then ask, "how comfortable am I with my sin?" How about you?
Zeph. 1:12 And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish the men who settle down comfortably, who say to themselves: The Lord will not do good or evil.
3. God judges people who ignore His discipline. How many times has God disciplined me, but with only little effect? You?
Zeph. 3:2 She has not obeyed; she has not accepted discipline. She has not trusted in Yahweh; she has not drawn near to her God.
Zeph. 3:7 I thought: You will certainly fear Me and accept correction. Then her dwelling place would not be cut off based on all that I had allocated to her. However, they became more corrupt in all their actions.
4. Still, God calls us back to Him, crying out for us to return to Him before judgment comes. He calls us to seek Him humbly and obediently. Do I hear that call today? Do you?
Zeph. 3:1-3 Gather yourselves together; gather together, undesirable nation, before the decree takes effect and the day passes like chaff, before the burning of the Lord’s anger overtakes you, before the day of the Lord’s anger overtakes you. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who carry out what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord’s anger.
5. He promises a day of restoration for His people — a day when God’s people will rejoice, but God will also sing over us.
Zeph. 3:17 Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy (also translated as, “He will exult over you with loud singing").
Think about it. We will rejoice over God, but He will also rejoice over us. God will join in the singing as His glory is so evidenced in His incredible love for us.
God will sing over me. That’s unbelievable.
But that’s the Lord’s declaration. Yahweh has spoken.
How can I do anything but sing in obedience and joy?
PRAYER: “God, I stand amazed in Your presence. Actually, all I can do is lie on the ground before You. To hear Your singing over me is almost more than my mind can handle. I love you, Lord.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 1-3