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Zephaniah 3:9-13 – A regenerated people

The great future restoration that God brings about in his people is regeneration. Regeneration is re-creation, to make new. In 3:9 God will cause people to have a pure lip and one shoulder.

To have a pure lip means that people’s words will be pleasing and acceptable to God – for example, they will call upon the name of the LORD for salvation and life. No longer will people speak lies nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue.

To have one shoulder means that people will work together to serve God in their actions. Even from the most distant of lands (Cush/Ethiopia) God’s people will bring offerings and worship the LORD.

People who are weak/poor or afflicted/oppressed will seek refuge in the name of the LORD. Like sheep they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

These promises in Zephaniah concerning regeneration and restoration are fulfilled in Jesus. Firstly we who come to Jesus come as the weak/poor and afflicted/oppressed – weak spiritually in of ourselves, lacking in resources to help ourselves and afflicted/oppressed by our sin, the world and the evil one.

In Jesus we have found refuge from the wrathful Day of Yahweh as Jesus has propitiated us (removed wrath from us). We have been regenerated. Having a pure lip that speaks from hearts that have been made new, having one shoulder in which together we serve the LORD. We long for the new earth which God’s people will possess and in which we like sheep shall graze and lie down, and none shall make us afraid.