Zephaniah 3

* Further reproofs for sin. (1-7) Encouragement to look for

mercy. (8-13) Promises of future favour and prosperity. (14-20)

1-7 The holy God hates sin most in those nearest to him. A

sinful state is, and will be, a woful state. Yet they had the

tokens of God's presence, and all the advantages of knowing his

will, with the strongest reasons to do it; still they persisted

in disobedience. Alas, that men often are more active in doing

wickedness than believers are in doing good.
8-13 The preaching of the gospel is predicted, when vengeance

would be executed on the Jewish nation. The purifying doctrines

of the gospel, or the pure language of the grace of the Lord,

would teach men to use the language of humility, repentance, and

faith. Purity and piety in common conversation is good. The pure

and happy state of the church in the latter days seems intended.

The Lord will shut out boasting, and leave men nothing to glory

in, save the Lord Jesus, as made of God to them wisdom,

righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Humiliation for

sin, and obligations to the Redeemer, will make true believers

upright and sincere, whatever may be the case among mere

14-20 After the promises of taking away sin, follow promises of

taking away trouble. When the cause is removed, the effect will

cease. What makes a people holy, will make them happy. The

precious promises made to the purified people, were to have full

accomplishment in the gospel. These verses appear chiefly to

relate to the future conversion and restoration of Israel, and

the glorious times which are to follow. They show the abundant

peace, comfort, and prosperity of the church, in the happy times

yet to come. He will save; he will be Jesus; he will answer the

name, for he will save his people from their sins. Before the

glorious times foretold, believers would be sorrowful, and

objects of reproach. But the Lord will save the weakest

believer, and cause true Christians to be greatly honoured where

they had been treated with contempt. One act of mercy and grace

shall serve, both to gather Israel out of their dispersions and

to lead them to their own land. Then will God's Israel be made a

name and a praise to eternity. The events alone can fully answer

the language of this prophecy. Many are the troubles of the

righteous, but they may rejoice in God's love. Surely our hearts

should honour the Lord, and rejoice in him, when we hear such

words of condescension and grace. If now kept from his

ordinances, it is our trial and grief; but in due time we shall

be gathered into his temple above. The glory and happiness of

the believer will be perfect, unchangeable, and eternal, when he

is freed from earthly sorrows, and brought to heavenly bliss.

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