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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Zephaniah Chapter 3

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Zephaniah
Date Penned: BC 640-521
Overview: A Warning for Judah to Repent (c 1-3)
Theme: The Day of Hope (c 3)
Message: Judgement will come to Jerusalem (v 1-20)

Zephaniah: Chapter 3 Commentary
     

(3:1) After predicting the destruction of the surrounding nations, Zephaniah returned to the problem at hand - sin in Jerusalem. The city of God and God's people had become "filthy and polluted" - as sinful as their heaten neighbors. The people pretended as their heathen neighbors. The people pretended to worship and devotion to God, but in their hearts they had rejected him and they continued to be complacent about their sins. They no longer cared about the consequences of turning away from God.  


(3:2) Do you know people who refuse to listen when someone disagrees with their opinions? Their root problem is pride - inflated self esteem, God's people had become so proud that they would not hear or accept God's correction. Do you find it difficult to listen to the spiritual counsel of others or God's Words from the BIble? Don't let pride or make you unable or unwilling to let the Lord work in your life. You will be more willing to listen when you consider how weak and sinful you really are compared to the Lord.

(3:3,4) Leading God's people is a privilege and a responsibility. Through Zephaniah, God rebukes all types of leadership in Jerusalem - princes, judges, prophets, and priests - because of their callous disobedience, irresponsibility, and sin. If you are a leader in the church, consider yourself in a privileged position, but be careful. God holds you responsible for the purity of your actions, the quality of your example, and the truth of your words.

(3:5) Jerusalem's citizens had no excuse for their sins. Jerusalem, where the Temple was located, was the religious center of the nation. But even though the people didn't follow God, he was "in the midst thereof" present in the midst of corruption, persecution, and unbelief. No matter how spiritually desolate the world seems. God is her and he is at work. Ask yourself, "What is he doing now, and how can I be part of his work?"

(3:6) We may wonder how the Israelites could have such clear warnings and still not turn to God.The problem was that they had allowed sin to so harden them that they no longer cared to follow the Lord. They refused to heed God's warnings and they refused to repent. The more God punished them, the more they sinned. If you disobey God now, your heart may grow hard, and you may lose your desire for God.

(3:7) When God teaches, he expects us to listen and learn. If we do not learn, he must punish us in order to teach us. God doesn't want us to suffer, but he will continue to chasten us until we learn the lesson he has for us. Be teachable, not unreachable.

(3:8) In the last days, God will judge all people according to their deeds (Revelation 20) Justice will prevail, evildoers will be punished and the obedient will be blessed. Don't try to avenge yourself, Be patient, and God's justice will come.

(3:9) God will purify and unify language so that all his people from all nations will be able to worship him in unison. In the new earth, all believers will speak the same language. The confusion of languages at the tower of Babel will be reversed (Genesis 11) God will purify our hearts , so that the word coming from our lips will be pure as well. Throughout scripture, prophets who mention judgement for God's people follow it with the promise of restoration. There is hope for those who obey and trust God. Today, as in Bible times, God offers restoration to those who turn to him.

(3:10) "The daughter of my dispersed" refers to scattered Jews beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. It symbolizes that all Jews, no matter how far they have been scattered, will return to worship God.

(3:11,12) God will remove the proud people and leave the poor and humble. God is opposed to the proud and haughty of every generation. But those who are poor and humble, both physically and spiritually, will be rewarded because they trust in God. Self-reliance and arrogance have no place among God's people or in his Kingdom.

(3:14-18) The lord himself would remove his hand of judgement, disperse Israel's enemies, and come to live among his people. He would give them gladness. We sin when we pursue happiness by cutting ourselves off from fellowship with God - the only person who can make us truly happy. Zephaniah points out that gladness results when we allow God to be with us. We do that by faithfully following him and obeying his Word. Then God rejoices over us in song. If you want to be happy, draw close to the source of happiness by obeying God. 

(3:20) "Before your eyes" does not mean this promise will be fulfilled during Zephaniah's generation. Rather it means that the restoration will be an obvious work of the Lord. The message of doom in the beginning of the book becomes a message of hope by the end. There will be a new day when God will bless his people. If the leaders in the church today were to hear a message from a prophet of God. the message would probably resemble the book of Zephaniah. Under Josiah's religious reforms, the people did return to God outwardly but their hearts were far from him. Zephaniah encouraged the nation to gather together and pray for salvation. We must also ask ourselves: Is our reform merely an outward show, or is it changing our hearts and lives? We need to gather together and pray, to walk humbly with God. To do what is right, and to hear the message of hope regarding the new world to come.

 

 


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Pride is Self Worship

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Zephaniah with Chapter 3. In our text today we see Judgement will come to Jerusalem as the people pretended to worship God but in their heart became prideful and scornful with the answer being a repetitive heart that ends up with Hope. In making application we see that root of many folks going astray is Pride - or a self worship - that places our opinions above that of the Lord. How about you? Do you place your opinion above the Word of God? Let us learn from our text today and the words of Zephaniah to see that Pride is simply self worship that leads to a path of destruction if we fail to repent. 

 

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Zephaniah 3

Zephaniah 3

 1Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!

 2She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.

 3Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.

 4Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.

 5The 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.

 6I 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.

 7I 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.

 8Therefore 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.

 9For 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.

 10From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.

 11In 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.

 12I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.

 13The 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.

 14Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

 15The 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.

 16In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.

 17The 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.

 18I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.

 19Behold, 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.

 20At 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.