Friday, November 24, 2017

Salvation songs

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Zephaniah 3:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
'Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak
The Lord your God is 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.' " Zephaniah 3:16,17

As we begin today's reading the litany of rebellion, disobedience, stubborn injustice, insolence, and sacrilege continues, along with God's reaction of cutting off, devastating, destroying, and punishing (Zephaniah 3:1-7).

Then, in verse 8, the prophet makes an about-face. He goes from reporting misdeeds and predicting doom to promising salvation. (There it is, the third component of our prophetic message: 1] Judgment; 2] Repentance; 3] Salvation).

Notice all the things that are righted:
  • There is a return to justice among nations (Zephaniah 3:8).
  • Their speech is cleaned up, now putting them in sync with God (Zephaniah 3:9). (One can't help but think of the Day of Pentecost when tongues and languages were indwelt by the Holy Spirit.)
  • God's people come back from exile, their ignominy changed to praise and fame (Zephaniah 3:10, 19,20).
  • Shame for sins committed is washed away (Zephaniah 3:11).
  • Meekness, humility and trust replace pride and haughtiness (Zephaniah 3:11,12).
  • Honesty and integrity of life characterize the remnant of God's people (Zephaniah 3:13).

Though Zephaniah's words were prophetic of events that overtook his country, and prophetic of end-time events still to come, I can't help but see parallels in his message for our life before and after salvation.
  • God changes us from rebellious, haughty God-haters, known for our insolence, treachery, pride, blasphemous speech etc. to meek humble folks of "a pure language" who "trust in the name of the Lord."
  • He washes away our shame and regrets.
  • He lives with us as the Holy Spirit, our constant guide.
  • He quiets our fears and soothes our restlessness with songs. I imagine all kinds of music here—praise, worship, and victorious battle songs for life, then songs of peace and reassurance the lullabies for sleep.

Leslyn Musch's words sum up Zephaniah 3:16-17 so well:

"Rejoice in the Lord! Did you know that God sings, shouts for joy, and dances over you because He loves you so much? Take time to think about that; let the Holy Spirit imbed this truth in your spirit. Allow this understanding to bring new joy, fresh freedom, and tender love for God into your devotional life" - Leslyn Musch, Truth-In-Action through Zephaniah, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1239.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this picture of life-changing salvation. Help me to hear Your songs over me today. Amen. 

MORE: No Longer Slaves
The picture of God singing over us from Zephaniah 3:17 is expanded on beautifully in the song "No Longer Slaves" (Jonathan and Melissa Helser - Bethel Music). It has become one of my favorite modern worship songs.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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