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Zephaniah 3 The Voice (VOICE)

Disaster is coming to the city of rebels,
    to Jerusalem, the now defiled city of oppression.
That city refused to listen to anyone.
    She would not take advice.
She didn’t believe in the Eternal One anymore.
    She didn’t want a close relationship with her God.
Her rulers remind me of roaring lions,
    out for the kill instead of protecting her people.
Her judges are a pack of wolves on the prowl at night,
Consuming what they are after
    until not one bone is left to chew on the next morning.
Her prophets, whom the people should look to for the truth,
    are irresponsible and double-crossing, deceitful men.
Her priests make vile holy places and do violence to God’s teaching.

God entrusts prophets and priests to care for His people. Instead of teaching the people God’s truth, they ignore the law and prey on the ignorant and the defenseless.

Despite all this, the Eternal One is right there in her midst;
    nothing He does is wrong.
Every morning He delivers His judgment;
    He illuminates the right way to live.
Though, like the sun, He never fails to appear,
    it’s amazing that the lawbreakers aren’t ashamed of their actions.

Eternal One: I have totally destroyed the other nations.
        I crumbled their high towers to the ground.
    I emptied their streets, leaving no one to travel them.
        There is not one person, not one animal, no one in their decimated cities.
    I said to Myself, “Surely My people will honor Me.
        Surely they will listen to Me
    So they can save themselves and their city
        from all I warned them about and appointed for their benefit.”
    But no, they were even more eager to keep doing all the wrong things.

    To My remaining faithful, I say wait and watch for Me
        because on that day, the nations will be called into court.
    I will rise up against them as My plunder and declare My decision:
        I will call the nations and their rulers together
    And pour out My hot anger and frustration on them.
        All of it will be spent, for the whole earth will be burned up in My fiery jealousy.
    And then I will transform the words spoken by the nations to pure words,
        and the people will finally hear My truth.
    Then all the people will be able to pray to and serve the Eternal One,
        standing together as part of the same people.
10     My followers, who had been scattered to faraway places as distant as Ethiopia’s rivers,
        will come back to worship Me with pure offerings.

11     When that day comes, you won’t feel embarrassed and ashamed anymore
        over all the rebellious things you did in the past.
    As I said I would, I will remove the proud and arrogant among you.
        Arrogance and pride will never again be tolerated in My holy mountain.
12     But I will leave afflicted and poor people among you
        who will trust the reputation of the Eternal One for strength and protection.
13     The faithful of Israel who remain will not continue to sin.
        They won’t tell lies or try to trick each other ever again.
    They’ll eat well each day and sleep peacefully each night like protected sheep,
        because nothing will make them afraid.

14 Hurray! It’s time to sing, faithful daughter of Zion!
    It’s time to shout out loud, Israel!
Be happy and celebrate with all your being,
    faithful children of Jerusalem!
15 The Eternal has cancelled His judgments against you.
    He changed the course of your enemies.
The True King of Israel, the Eternal One, is standing right here among you;
    you have no reason to be afraid ever again.
16 On that day people will say to the faithful in Jerusalem,
    “Do not be afraid, Zion;
Hold your head and hands high,
    and take courage.”
17 The Eternal your God is standing right here among you,
    and He is the champion who will rescue you.
He will joyfully celebrate over you;
    He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.

This celebrated passage reflects the reconciliation between God and His wife, Jerusalem. The daughter Zion is reunited with her King and Husband, the Eternal!

18 Eternal One: Don’t be sad anymore
        about all the time you were away in exile,
    Unable to keep the appointed feasts or worship Me in the appointed place.
        I will gather those who’ve shamed you, Zion.
19     Keep watching! At the right time,
        I will deal with those who assaulted you.
    I will steady those who are lame and about to fall;
        I will gather those who are outcasts and oppressed.
    Instead of being filled with shame as they always have been,
        I will fill them with praise and make them famous over all the world.
20     On that day, I will gather all of you together for one big homecoming.
        I will make you famous, and all the world will sing your praises.
    Right before your eyes, I will restore to you all that you have lost,
        and your lives will be full again.

So says the Eternal One.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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