Verse 1 – Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, to the oppressing city!
After predicting the destruction of the surrounding nations, Zephaniah spoke of Jerusalem’s sin. The city of God and God’s people had become defiled. The people had pretended to worship God, but in their hearts were complacent and rejected God. They no longer cared about the consequences of turning away from God.
Verse 2 – She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the Lord, she has not drawn near to her God.
God’s people had become so proud that they refused to listen to correction from God.
Verse 3 – Her princes in her midst are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave not a bone till morning.
Verse 4 – Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people; her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.
God held the rulers responsible for polluting the people. Leaders are held accountable to God for what hey teach, leading by example.
Verse 5 – The LORD is righteous, He is in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails, but the unjust knows no shame.
This verse perfectly describes our leaders in Washington today. Time and again some are caught in out right lies, and there is no shame! They continue to collect huge salaries and all the benefits of holding their seat to represent the American people. No one goes to jail for the crimes they commit. They continue to make laws contrary to God’s laws and don’t follow the laws they make themselves. They are is no difference in what they do and what Jerusalem was doing back them. There will be judgment and there will be punishment, God help them.
Verse 6 – “I have cut off nations, their fortress are devastated; I have made their streets desolate, with none passing by. Their cities are destroyed; there is no one, no inhabitant.
Verse 7 – I said, ‘Surely you will fear Me, you will receive instruction’ – so that her dwelling would not be cut off, despite everything for which I punished her. But they rose early and corrupted all their deeds.
The more God punished the Israelites for their sin, the more they sinned. Watch out when you continue in your sin, your heart will grow hard against the things of God. It will become callous.
Verse 8 – “Therefore wait for Me,” says the LORD, “Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them My indignation, all My fierce anger; all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.
There is coming a time, when God will judge all people according to their works (Revelation 20:12). We should never try to avenge ourselves, God’s justice will come.
Verse 9 – “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord. God will purify our speech, so that we all speak the same glorifying language. We will all worship Him in unison.
Verse 10 – From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, the daughter of My dispersed ones, shall bring My offering.
Verse 11 – In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds in which you transgressed against Me; for then I will take away from your midst those who rejoice in your pride, and you shall no longer be haughty in My holy mountain.
Verse 12 – I will leave in your midst a meek and humble people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.
Verse 13 – The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness and speak no lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed their flocks and lie down, and no one shall make them afraid.”
The Promise of Restoration
Verse 14 – Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Verse 15 – The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall see disaster no more.
Verse 16 – In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak.
Verse 17 – The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you in His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Verse 18 – “I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, who are among you, to whom its reproach is a burden.
Verse 19 – Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, and gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame in every land where they were put to shame.
Verse 20 – At that time I will bring you back, even at the time I gather you; for I will give you fame and praise among all peoples of the earth, when I return your captives before your eyes,” says the LORD.
The world is not always and forever, be filled with evil. There will be a day when all of Israel’s enemies will be destroyed and our LORD comes to dwell among us. Zephaniah points out that gladness results when we allow God to be with us. We do that by faithfully following Him.
Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.