Monday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Zephaniah 3:9-20 (NKJV)
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.
10 “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, the daughter of My dispersed ones, shall bring My offering.
11 “In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds in which you transgress 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.
12 “I will leave in your midst a meek and humble people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.
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.”
14 Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
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.
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak.
17 “The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
18 “I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, who are among you, to whom its reproach is a burden.
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.
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 the peoples of the earth, when I return your captives before your eyes,” says the LORD.
When God’s chosen people Israel had sinned against the Lord, Zephaniah preached the law of God’s anger and wrath. First, the ten tribes of Israel were taken away into exile, then the two tribes of Judah also forsook the Lord and were dispersed among the nations. God’s judgment for sin is temporal wrath and eternal displeasure. When God’s chosen people were sorrowing in repentance under the affliction of their enemies, Zephaniah preached the gospel of forgiveness and restoration. “The Lord has taken away your judgments” (Zeph. 3:15). The promise of the gospel was to gather His “dispersed ones,” “the remnant of Israel.” Not only would the Lord forgive, but He would restore “a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD” (3:9).
Since the fall into sin, the Triune God has used His prophet’s words of law and gospel to work repentance and create faith from which comes a right and pure profession. Let us not pass over Zephaniah’s words lightly as if they were only a history lesson. First, we should fear God’s wrath and repent over our sins. Second, we should love and trust in God for His Gospel promises which come true in Jesus Christ, our Savior. Jesus has taken away the judgment of death on account of our sins and saved us. He has gathered His Church out of all of the nations and given us a pure profession of salvation through faith in His Son. Jesus has defeated our enemies. The faith-filled ones are directed to “be glad and rejoice with all your heart,” because of the Lord’s love.
We pray: Almighty God, we have disobeyed your commandments and deserve to be driven away from you. Nevertheless, we rejoice in your forgiveness and cling to the restoration of the truth. Amen.