May 3, 2020, Zephaniah 3:14-20 – ISSL Reflections

This week we turn our thoughts to the Prophet Zephaniah and the closing words of his prophecy.

He starts with harsh words for the nation and a few sentences before the passage we focus on this week he tells the people,

Therefore wait for me, says the Lord,
for the day when I arise as a witness.
At that time I will change the speech of the peoples
to a pure speech,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
and serve him with one accord.
(Zephaniah 3:8a, 9)

It is perhaps when the “wait” is over that these words of Zephaniah can be heard with their full force and the confidence that the “wait” is over.

Zephaniah 3:14-20 (New Revised Standard Version)

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!

The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.

The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.

I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.

At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the Lord.

Did you hear, fully hear, the shout of the Prophet?

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart ….

Take the Prophet’s direction to “Sing … rejoice and exult …” as you read and reread the passage and notice what he asks the people to sing about.

What do you find? Are you encouraged to sing and rejoice?

While Zephaniah speaks of the day the “wait” is over, his words come to them while they are still waiting. And maybe they don’t even know what they are waiting for. They may feel trapped, discouraged, disillusioned, even think God has abandoned them.

Is it easy to hear “wait” when you are in a time of darkness?

Can you even hear the word “wait”?

What do you need to give you hope in such a time? Would Zephaniah’s call to sing and rejoice be heard by you?
How do you prepare yourself to hear the word of hope when it seems a hopeless time?

Listen to Zephaniah today and see if his words open to you hope and light?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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