“Sin, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel!” (Zepehaniah 3:14)
The prophet Zephaniah addressed a people in trouble. With so much corruption among them, he announced that God’s judgment was coming. When this later came to pass through capture and exile, the people too lost their song. But Zephaniah foresaw a time beyond judgment when God would come to this decimated people, forgive their sins, and sing to them; “He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” As a result, the heart song of the people would be restored.
Whether through our own disobedience or the trials of life, we too can lose our heart song of joy. But a Voice is singing over us songs of forgiveness and love. Let’s listen to His melody and sing along.
- Where do you find it hardest to retain your joy in God?
- What song, poem, or prayer can you give to God in response to His rejoicing over you?
Loving God, it’s amazing to imagine that You would sing songs of joy over us. We praise You and sin our own songs of praise to You.
Zephaniah 3: 14-20
Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you, never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
“I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you. At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the lord.
Zephaniah, whose name means “Yahweh hides,” is one of the twelve minor prophets. He ministered to Judah during the reign of Josiah (640-609 BC), Judah’s reformist king. As the great-great grandson of the godly king Hezekiah, Zephaniah was part of the royal family and probably a distant relative of the incumbent King Josiah. Like many of God’s prophets, Zephaniah prophesied of the future “day of the lord”, “a day of God’s wrath” when God will bring to a close human history “sweeping away everything from the face of the earth”. Zephaniah proclaimed God as the sovereign Judge of history and nations and warned that He would punish Judah for her unfaithfulness while promising restoration for the faithful and purified remnant after the judgment.