Spontaneous Songs of Praise

>> Monday, October 6, 2008

As Beckie and I were on our way to Chicago last Thursday, she had a friend call her with a verse of encouragement. When I heard Zephaniah, I knew exactly what verse she was reading to her because that is my other friend Becky's favorite verse.

Zephaniah 3:17 "The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
The next day I decided I wanted to study the book of Zephaniah. It's only three chapters. That was a very attainable goal so I began. I copied the first chapter onto my word processor and looked at each verse and when I hit a word I wasn't quite sure of the meaning, I looked on dictionary.com. It is so great to have so many helpful study tools at our fingertips.

I'm going to share some things with you about the author:

He was a Kohathite -- served by preparing for and directing worship

A prophet in days of Josiah

A priest in the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah -- Sent by the king to Jeremiah with a message soliciting the prophet's intercession and prayers

Shows Jeremiah the false prophet's letter

Taken to Riblah and killed

So basically, the way I read this is that Zephaniah was a worship leader and he gave prophetic words to the Kings of Judah. Reading Zephaniah 3:17 one would get the feeling this book would be comforting and give you a mushy feeling in your stomach. That is far from the case. In chapter one, Zephaniah warns the people about a coming destruction. It isn't pleasant. Not at all.

He warns the ones who worship idols and the ones that not seeking the Lord or inquiring of Him. Ummm.... I think I fall into those categories at different times of my life. Ouch...

In verse 7 he says, "Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near." He goes on to say who will be punished: those are aren't going to church and the ones that do but cause trouble. (vs 9) Also, the Lord is looking for complacent people (pleased, esp. with oneself or one's merits,advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied.) Ouch...

14 "The great day of the LORD is near—
near and coming quickly.
Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter,
the shouting of the warrior there."

This same word could be spoken in the Church today, don't you think? "The great day of the Lord is near - near and coming quickly." We are still waiting so many years later and we are still sinning in so many of the same ways. We still grow complacent, forgetting WHO we are waiting for.

So, I'm sure Zephaniah was not the favored worship leader in his time. Obviously since he was martyred. I'll talk about that more later this week when I continue on with the small but powerful book. But for now, I still want to think of God in this way:
"The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

The same God who punishes and corrects also takes great delight in us. That is very comforting. It makes me want to break out in spontaneous songs of praise to my Lord. Maybe I'll do that right now.

Happy Monday everyone!

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