November 5, 2010 * Zephaniah 3:8-13

The Old Testament Reading

Zephaniah 3:8-13

In this call to wait upon the Lord, we have the assurance of God’s deliverance. This passage starts with the promise that God’s wrath will consume the world with fire. The interesting thing about this promised judgment is that even though the world is consumed with fire, the speech of the peoples will be changed to a pure speech. The apparent message is not one of total world destruction but one of world purification and conversion. It is for this reason that the New Revised Standard Version translators entitled this section, “Punishment and Conversion of the Nations.” Because of God’s activity, all people will be able to “call on the name of the Lord.” (Revised Standard Version) In this coming time of redemption, we hear that we will be able to serve the Lord “with one accord.” (RSV) The phrase translated “with one accord” could be more literally translated as,“ “with one shoulder.” The Hebrew suggests more of a degree of effort than is seen in our English translations. The Septuagint comes closer with “under one yoke.” For me, verses 11 and 12 carry the good news here: The prideful and arrogant will be removed from among us and the humble and lowly will “trust in the name of the Lord”. (New International Version) We are then told in the last verse that the remnant of Israel “will do no wrong; they will tell no lies.  A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.” (NIV) What a wonderful day that will be.

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