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.

 

from Dorothy Brownlee, Chapel Hill Christian Church, Wellsburg

I must confess I never read Zephaniah.  When I received my selection I thought since it is a short book I’d read all of it. Oh what a distressing tale Zephaniah proclaims. Judgments and punishment and days of darkness and gloom until you read “…and no one shall make them afraid.”

“Fear not.” those are familiar words we hear during Advent. Zephaniah proclaims that God will take away the judgments against me and come into my midst and God will sing! What an amazing thought, what an awesome sight. God will change my shame into praise, restore my fortunes, and bring me home.  God will be glad and renew God’s love for me.

God we sing our praises to you and give you thanks for calling us your children. We have nothing to fear when we hear your love song played thru acts of mercy and grace.

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