December 21 – Zephaniah 3 from the Old Testament

Zephaniah 3 – Jerusalem is Corrupt

3:1 The filthy, stained city is as good as dead;

the city filled with oppressors is finished!

3:2 She is disobedient;

she refuses correction.

She does not trust the Lord;

she does not seek the advice of her God.

3:3 Her princes are as fierce as roaring lions;

her rulers are as hungry as wolves in the desert,

who completely devour their prey by morning.

3:4 Her prophets are proud;

they are deceitful men.

Her priests defile what is holy;

they break God’s laws.

3:5 The just Lord resides within her;

he commits no unjust acts.

Every morning he reveals his justice.

At dawn he appears without fail.

Yet the unjust know no shame.

The Lord’s Judgment will Purify

3:6 “I destroyed nations;

their walled cities are in ruins.

I turned their streets into ruins;

no one passes through them.

Their cities are desolate;

no one lives there.

3:7 I thought, ‘Certainly you will respect me!

Now you will accept correction!’

If she had done so, her home would not be destroyed

by all the punishments I have threatened.

But they eagerly sinned

in everything they did.

3:8 Therefore you must wait patiently for me,” says the Lord,

“for the day when I attack and take plunder.

I have decided to gather nations together

and assemble kingdoms,

so I can pour out my fury on them –

all my raging anger.

For the whole earth will be consumed

by my fiery anger.

3:9 Know for sure that I will then enable

the nations to give me acceptable praise.

All of them will invoke the Lord’s name when they pray,

and will worship him in unison.

3:10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,

those who pray to me will bring me tribute.

3:11 In that day you will not be ashamed of all your rebelliousness against me,

for then I will remove from your midst those who proudly boast,

and you will never again be arrogant on my holy hill.

3:12 I will leave in your midst a humble and meek group of people,

and they will find safety in the Lord’s presence.

3:13 The Israelites who remain will not act deceitfully.

They will not lie,

and a deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouth.

Indeed, they will graze peacefully like sheep and lie down;

no one will terrify them.”

3:14 Shout for joy, Daughter Zion!

Shout out, Israel!

Be happy and boast with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!

3:15 The Lord has removed the judgment against you;

he has turned back your enemy.

Israel’s king, the Lord, is in your midst!

You no longer need to fear disaster.

3:16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem,

“Don’t be afraid, Zion!

Your hands must not be paralyzed from panic!

3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst;

he is a warrior who can deliver.

He takes great delight in you;

he renews you by his love;

he shouts for joy over you.”

3:18 “As for those who grieve because they cannot attend the festivals –

I took them away from you;

they became tribute and were a source of shame to you.

3:19 Look, at that time I will deal with those who mistreated you.

I will rescue the lame sheep

and gather together the scattered sheep.

I will take away their humiliation

and make the whole earth admire and respect them.

3:20 At that time I will lead you –

at the time I gather you together.

Be sure of this! I will make all the nations of the earth respect and admire you

when you see me restore you,” says the Lord.

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