Zephaniah 3* Further reproofs for sin. (1-7) Encouragement to look formercy. (8-13) Promises of future favour and prosperity. (14-20)1-7 The holy God hates sin most in those nearest to him. Asinful state is, and will be, a woful state. Yet they had thetokens of God's presence, and all the advantages of knowing hiswill, with the strongest reasons to do it; still they persistedin disobedience. Alas, that men often are more active in doingwickedness than believers are in doing good. 8-13 The preaching of the gospel is predicted, when vengeancewould be executed on the Jewish nation. The purifying doctrinesof the gospel, or the pure language of the grace of the Lord,would teach men to use the language of humility, repentance, andfaith. Purity and piety in common conversation is good. The pureand happy state of the church in the latter days seems intended.The Lord will shut out boasting, and leave men nothing to gloryin, save the Lord Jesus, as made of God to them wisdom,righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Humiliation forsin, and obligations to the Redeemer, will make true believersupright and sincere, whatever may be the case among mereprofessors. 14-20 After the promises of taking away sin, follow promises oftaking away trouble. When the cause is removed, the effect willcease. What makes a people holy, will make them happy. Theprecious promises made to the purified people, were to have fullaccomplishment in the gospel. These verses appear chiefly torelate to the future conversion and restoration of Israel, andthe glorious times which are to follow. They show the abundantpeace, comfort, and prosperity of the church, in the happy timesyet to come. He will save; he will be Jesus; he will answer thename, for he will save his people from their sins. Before theglorious times foretold, believers would be sorrowful, andobjects of reproach. But the Lord will save the weakestbeliever, and cause true Christians to be greatly honoured wherethey had been treated with contempt. One act of mercy and graceshall serve, both to gather Israel out of their dispersions andto lead them to their own land. Then will God's Israel be made aname and a praise to eternity. The events alone can fully answerthe language of this prophecy. Many are the troubles of therighteous, but they may rejoice in God's love. Surely our heartsshould honour the Lord, and rejoice in him, when we hear suchwords of condescension and grace. If now kept from hisordinances, it is our trial and grief; but in due time we shallbe gathered into his temple above. The glory and happiness ofthe believer will be perfect, unchangeable, and eternal, when heis freed from earthly sorrows, and brought to heavenly bliss.
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