The Joyful Judge
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Have you ever known a judge to sing and dance in his courtroom? You might be surprised to know it happens!
Published June 5th, 2017; Updated June 13th, 2017
Share / Groups / About Author
Main point summary
Judgement and Joy
Main point summary
Sing! Shout! Rejoice! For our mighty God is in our midst! For He will render judgement and will save his people so that they would be praised among the nations
Judgement and Joy
Take a moment and answer a question for me. What do you imagine God doing when he sees you or when he thinks about you? Pause and give this some thought before moving along through this study. What if I told you that he rejoices (literally dances) over those whom he has saved? What if I told you that with great joy he loudly sings over those same people? This is exactly what Zephaniah tells us God does! Can you imagine this? Can you imagine how beautiful this must look and how wonderful this must sound? However, the question we must ask is, how does this all fit together when judgement is one of the key themes in the book of Zephaniah? In Zephaniah it is crystal clear that God will judge all of the earth for their sin to include Judah. We know that at this point in history God's judgement had already been rendered against the Northern Tribes of Israel. They had been taken into captivity by Assyrians and it would not be much longer before the Southern Tribe of Judah would be taken into captivity by the Babylonians. God is just. He will judge unrepentant sinners. The day of the Lord will come and neither Judah or you and I are excluded. In fact, the people of Judah are told that they will be judged and that they will go into exile. However, there is a purpose in this judgement. Zephaniah 3:11-13 shows us that God will use his judgement on this nation to purge the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3:12). He says that His judgement will leave a remnant of people who will be humble and lowly - a people who will take refuge in the name of the Lord. But it gets even better! Not only does God provide hope to Judah in the near future post judgement, but he also provides a greater hope to the nation, and all nations for that matter in the distant future. There will be a day when all of the elect will sing, shout and rejoice! Why? Because God will clear the slate. All of his legal demands in regards to their sin will be wiped out (Zephaniah 3:15)! How is this even possible you might ask? It is possible, because the True and Better King of Israel, Jesus, will come and live among his people (John 1:14;Revelation 21:3). Jesus would come not initially to render judgement (John 3:17;John 12:44-50) but rather to save his people from their sins. The Lord our God will be in our midst a mighty one to save! The most amazing thing about all of this is that God doesn't do this begrudgingly! He does it it with great joy! In fact he is so delighted to do so that he actually dances and sings over you ( Zephaniah 3:17;Hebrews 12:2)! I wonder if there has ever been a judge in all of history that has ever danced and sang loudly after rendering a not guilty verdict? I highly doubt it. But this is what Zephaniah says God does! So don't grow weary. Lift up those drooping hands Hebrews 12:12-13). Rejoice and take refuge in Jesus, the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul (1 Peter 2:25). For Jesus has turned our shame into praise! For he has prepared a rejoicing people in order to make them famous among all the nations of the earth. And when we are famous because Christ is famous in us, the fame of Christ will be known and will spread to the ends of the earth.
Zephaniah 3:14-20
j Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
Sing out loud Judah;
shout, O Israel!
Shout all of you who remain in Israel!
Have great joy
and exult
and be ecstatic
with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
and do these things with all your heart and all that is within you!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
Why? Because got has cleared away the legal demands in regards to your sin that he holds against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
he has wiped out all of your enemies.
k The King of Israel, l the Lord , is in your midst;
Your King - the true and better King is among you;
you shall never again fear evil.
Therefore , you will no longer again be scared of evil.
z On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
When that day arrives it shall be said where you are living;
“Fear not, O Zion;
"Don't be afraid, O Zion;
m let not your hands grow weak.
don't let your hand lose strength and be powerless.
l The Lord your God is in your midst,
Why? God is located among you,
n a mighty one who will save;
he possesses great strength and will save you;
o he will rejoice over you
he will have great joy over you
with gladness;
How will he do this? With pure delight;
he will quiet you
he will quiet your troubled soul
by his love;
How will he do this? With his love;
he will exult over you
he will be ecstatic about you (literally dance over you)
with loud singing.
How will he show this? With loud singing.
I will gather those of you who mourn p for the festival,
God will gather His people who are sorrowful
so that you will no longer suffer reproach. 1
in order that you will no longer suffer disapproval.
Behold, at that time q I will deal with all your oppressors.
When that time comes I will deal with all of your taskmasters.
And r I will save the lame
I am a Good Shepherd and I will rescue the lame sheep.
and gather the outcast,
furthermore I will gather into my fold those who are rejected,
and I will change s their shame into t praise and renown in all the earth.
furthermore every sin that they have been ashamed of I will completely turn around into praise so that all the nations will see my power to forgive.
u At that time I will bring you in,
When that time comes, I will bring you in close to me,
at the time when I gather you together;
You will know this is true when I gather you together into my sheepfold;
for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth,
You say, " What is the purpose of all of this ?" To make you a famous and praised people in all of the earth,
v when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,”
When I do this, it will happen before your very eyes. You were once poor but I will make you wealthy in God,"
says the Lord .
says the LORD
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.