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Zephaniah 3:14-20 – The Singing God, The Quiet Lover

The final section of Zephaniah begins with a call to ‘pure-lip-people’ to sing loudly with joyful hearts. The reason for this joyful singing is that the LORD has taken away the judgments against us – sin’s consequences have been removed – and the King of Israel is in our midst – and with him present we need never fear evil again.

The LORD being Israel’s king is interesting because generally in the Book of Twelve the future hope has involved a Davidic human king – but here the king is Yahweh himself. In the light of the New Testament we know that Jesus is both the Davidic-human king and the God-king in one person.

If one’s king is present, then one need not fear because one of a king’s primary activities is to save and deliver his people from all that would threaten them. In 3:17 Yahweh is a mighty one, a warrior-hero to save.

Amazingly, Yahweh will rejoice over us with singing – the Singing God. What an extraordinary thing that the Lord GOD would sing and rejoice in weak sinners such as ourselves. Sometimes we can become forgetful of God’s love for us. People sing with genuine happiness and this is our God with us. Equally amazing is the idea that he expresses love toward us in a kind of intimate quietness. He is the warrior-God and as ‘a strong man’ he loudly sings joyfully over us, but he also loves us quietly and intimately.

Finally, Zephaniah ends with God gathering his people – he gathers the lame and the outcast. This sounds like Jesus! He brings them in and gathers them – also sounds like Jesus! Our shame is exchanged for praise as we together praise in one another the way the LORD has restored our fortunes before our eyes and caused us to be praised among all the peoples of the earth.

The Singing God, the Quiet Lover, and the Shepherd who gathers.