Monday 21 December 2009

Bible Book:

"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." (v.14-15)

Zephaniah 3:14-18 Monday 21 December 2009


Not a great deal is known about Zephaniah, other than that hewas a prophet of Israel and was likely to have lived about 600 to650 years before Christ. His book is one of the 12 'minor prophets'of the Old Testament and, like many prophetic books, begins withoracles (statements) that foretell disaster and ends with oraclesthat foretell salvation.

In the book of Zephaniah the judgement falls first against Judahand Jerusalem, but it is also the fate of the whole world. The samesalvation that Jerusalem might enjoy is also available to thenations. God has been particularly offended by those who offerleadership to the people whilst filling the palaces (or Temple)with goods gained through violence and corruption, as well as thosewho have introduced practices of other religions into the life ofthe community.

Divine judgement moves to a promise of hope for a humble remnant,who, whether part of the community or converted Gentiles(non-Jews), have turned to Yahweh (God) and away from deceit.

Today's verses are from the concluding part of the book and containgreat shouts of joy. They express both the joy that the people ofIsrael have because God has saved them and the joy of God becausethe people have turned to the righteous path.

During the Christmas season we focus on themes of moving fromdarkness to light and from despair to hope. We look for a promiseof salvation in the midst of a complex and, at times, frighteningworld. If in the midst of the wrapping and shopping and cooking wemanage to glimpse Christ, will we "Sing aloud ... shout! Rejoiceand exult with all our hearts"?

To Ponder

What do you think would attract God's judgementtoday?

What would the world look like if people wereassured that God loves them?

What would you like to rejoice about today?

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