Do you like to sing out loud? What is your favorite worship song to sing loud?
Zephaniah the prophet, like all the other prophets, warned the nation of Judah about their sin, and about God’s anger toward their sin. He told them God was coming to punish all their bad deeds. God was coming to stop them from sinning. Listen to how God speaks through Zephaniah’s prophecy in chapter 1 (it’s not pretty):
4 “I will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
14 The great day of the Lord is near,
near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
the mighty man cries aloud there.
15 A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
Yikes. It sounds like the people of Judah are in big trouble doesn’t it? And it sure sounds like God is going to smash them for their sins. And rightly so. They deserve it. They have worshiped false gods and stopped loving God and others. They’ve been very bad for a very long time. And God is angry and nothing can stop God’s anger. Right?
But then suddenly Zephaniah’s prophecy does a complete turn. Suddenly God changes his mind about punishing the people of Judah. Listen to what God says in Zephaniah chapter 3.
14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah describes God singing over us. Loudly. God rejoicing over us with gladness.
Wait. How does God go from being very angry at his people to being glad, and rejoicing, and singing over them? Look at 3:15 again. How can God decide to “take away the judgments against us?” How can God decide to not punish us for our sin?
The answer is Jesus.
On the cross Jesus took all of God’s punishment for sin, all of his anger, and all of his wrath. Jesus received the darkness and gloom, so that we might receive God’s forgiveness and everlasting life.
That means there’s nothing left for us to do to get out of trouble. There’s no way we can earn God’s love and forgiveness. All we have to do is receive it through Jesus and what he did for us on the cross.
Because of Jesus God is singing loudly over us with great joy and love.
With Jesus I can sing loudly to God with joy and love.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Sing a loud song of praise together to the Lord.
Because of you God is not angry at me, and now he rejoices over me instead. Help me to sing and rejoice over God too.
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