Zephaniah 3:14-20

             Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
                        shout, O Israel!
            Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
                        O daughter Jerusalem!
 
            The LORD has taken away the judgments against you,
                        he has turned away your enemies.
            The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
                        you shall fear disaster no more.
 
            On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion;
                        do not let your hands grow weak.
            The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory;
                        he will rejoice over you with gladness,
                        he will renew you in his love;
                        he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.
 
            I will remove disaster from you,
                        so that you will not bear reproach for it.
             I will deal with all your oppressors at that time.
                        And I will save the lame and gather the outcast,
                        and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
            At that time I will bring you home,
                        at the time when I gather you;
            for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth,
                        when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.

 

            A promise is a serious matter.  As kids, we cross our hearts as a sign of commitment.  God has made promises to Israel regarding a coming deliverer, and Zephaniah sees the fulfillment of the great stream of promises for the people of God, even though in exile it may be hard to believe. 

            In the fulfillment of holy promises two aspects of sin must be covered.  On the one hand, our sins of conscience (guiltiness) must be removed so that we can come to God in confident hope.  On the other hand, the character of God must be appeased for the offense of sin (disobedience).  This deliverance – promised by the prophets and born in the person of Jesus – renews us for action, frees us for activity, and saves us to serve. 

O God, you work to make peace with us at every turn of life.

We praise you for the peace that comes in Christ our Deliverer.

 

Rev. Donald Snyder

Beckley – First Christian Church

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