Monday, March 14, 2016
Israel will Again Experience God’s Love.
“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God. Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.” (Zephaniah 3:1-4)
God’s judgment is coming on Jerusalem. They have polluted themselves with various idols, and have ignored sin. They’ve taken advantage of others people and refused to listen when God tried to straighten them out. The rulers and leaders are like lions, just doing as they please, and the lawyers and judges are like a bunch of wolves waiting for a weak person to take advantage of, not content to just attack those who have done wrong. Their evangelists and preachers focus on frivolous subjects and cannot be trusted and the worship leaders treat the church like a theater or sports arena.
“The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame. I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant. I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings.” (Zephaniah 3:5-7)
God is a righteous God who will not do wrong and does not change. Every day, he shows what is right, but the wicked refuse to acknowledge their sin. God has destroyed entire nations for their sin, leaving fortresses in ruins and their streets deserted. Entire cities are completely uninhabited. God has done this in hopes they would respect or fear him enough to change in an effort to save their lives but they ignored his every effort, determined to go their own way, and Judah has done the same thing.
“Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.” (Zephaniah 3:8-9)
As a result, Judah will not see God’s blessings fully until the time of Christ’s kingdom, when he draws all the nations together for destruction and pours out his judgment on the earth. Then he will restore the people to a single nation where all speak the same language and all of them call on the Lord in full agreement, with no confusion.
“From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. ” (Zephaniah 3:10-11)
In that day worshippers of God will come from beyond Ethiopia to worship God in Jerusalem. They will no longer harbor a sense of guilt for turning away because God will destroy those who have rebelled, thinking God wouldn’t punish them. The Jews will no longer5 hav e pride because God’s temple is among them.
“I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. ” (Zephaniah 3:12-13)
The people who survive in Israel will be people who have suffered for their faith and are aware of God’s concern for them. They will not deliberately do wrong like Israel has done in the past. Instead of lying and tricking people, they will focus on just living for God, and they will not have to deal with threats from others.
“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. ” (Zephaniah 3:14-15)
Judah and Israel will be able to rejoice in God’s blessings, because they will no longer suffer his punishment. Their enemies will have been destroyed, and Jesus Christ will be their king, living among them. They will never again face the evil they have in the past.
“In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. ” (Zephaniah 3:16-18)
In that day, they will no longer need to be constantly on guard or worry about being defeated. Christ himself will be among them to protect them, enjoying his time with them and sharing his love. He will bring them together and take away their sorrow.
“Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD. ” (Zephaniah 3:19-20)
They will be restored to their own land and their enemies wiped out. They will no longer be ashamed or try to hide their Jewish heritage, because it will respected in the day God sets them free and re-establishes them.