Zephaniah 3:14-17, Why We Sing To God

Zephaniah 3:14-17, Why We Sing To God
1. Because He Has Taken Away Our Judgments (v15)
2. Because He Has Cast Out Our Enemy (v15)
3. Because He Is In Our Midst (v15)
4. Because We Will See A Future Of No Disaster (v15)
5. Because The Mighty One Will Save Us (v17)
6. Because He Will Quiet Us With His Love (v17)
7. Because He Sings And Rejoices Over You (v17)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching Zephaniah 3:14-17, Why We Sing To God

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Zephaniah on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 using the New King James Version (NKJV).

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All right, so we're going to be in Zephaniah Chapter 3, looking at verses 14 through 17, and. So here's what that says. Verse 14 sing, O daughter of Zion shout O Israel, be glad and rejoice with all your hearts. O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away your judgments. He has cast out your enemy, the King of Israel. The Lord is in your midst. You shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem. Do not fear Zion. Let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst. The mighty one will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness he will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with. Here in these verses, in Zephaniah chapter three, we see some instruction that the Prophet Zephaniah is giving to the people of Israel. And of course, there's a lot of context that goes into that, as Zephaniah has been prophesying about the coming judgments. Zephaniah is prophesying around the same time as the prophet Jeremiah, and so he's there in Judah, addressing the nation as Babylon is coming to conquer them and lead them away. Captive, and so there is the correction of God, and the judgment that is being unleashed. But as God likes to do with his prophets, he also gives a message of hope that after the discipline that the method of discipline that God was using was not a method of final destruction for his people, but that God even in the midst of discipline, loved his people and desired to. Bring a restoration and to bring about goodness and there was going to be reason and cause for joy and rejoicing in their nation again and in their lives again. And so the profit here really wraps up the book focused on that restoration. Of God, and as we look at these things this evening, I'm going to be taking those things that are delivered to the nation of Israel and just take a moment to make the point. These are words you know attributed to and directly to the nation of Israel. Words that will still be fulfilled in the life of the nation of Israel and our future. Things for the the nation of Israel, and the plans that. God has for them. But at the same time as we look at these things, we can recognize the parallel that we have in our lives spiritually as a result of what Christ has done for us and the completed work of Jesus upon the cross. And so I'm going to take these exhortations and bring them into our world and apply them to us, and encourage. Us to do these things now we don't have to wait for a future. You know time in Israel for these instructions to take hold in our hearts, but we can right now begin to practice and to walk in these things. And so I've titled our time together. The message this evening. What did I title it? Why are we seeing to God? I usually I did my notes differently to try to keep it shorter so I didn't put the title there. So why we sing to God is what we're going to be considering here, and the prophet here is encouraging the nation at that time in the future to sing to God. But also, they're they're able to sing to God at that time and Zephaniah? Time and throughout all time, because of those promises that God was giving through the Prophet, and so the exhortation is given in verse four. Look at the commands sing, O daughter of Zion shout. Oh Israel, be glad and rejoice with all your hearts. Oh, daughter of Jerusalem and so we can see here that God desires for his people to sing the the instruction to his people is to sing and to shout and not half heartedly not you know partially, but he says with all your heart. There is to be this gladness and rejoicing, and singing and shouting. And it's something that is important for us to reflect on and come back to from time to time as believers. You know we gather together, and we have a. Time of worship. In our gatherings and we sing to the Lord. Well, some of us sing to the Lord. Some of us just kind of mouth the words some of us just put our hands in our pockets and just kind of work through some of us, you know, show up late so we can ditch the time of singing, right? Carlos, some of us you. Know our our in in the time of worship but but we're not actually singing. Many times. And and so it's important for us to be encouraged. The Lord wants to remind us that he desires for his people to be a people who sing to the Lord. He instructs us to sing to the Lord and to shout, and he says here in verse 14 with all your heart. The Book of Psalms is a significant portion of the Scriptures, and I think that we can take that as an indication of a little bit of the priority that God wants worship from all different, you know, portions of our life. All different aspects of our life. Sometimes we come. From places of heartache and sorrow, but the as the Psalms worship the Lord and sing to the Lord. In the Psalms there is that that walking in those times. Of sorrow and heartache. And worshipping the Lord, and singing to the Lord in those times, then there's also the times of victory. The mountaintop experiences, and. And so there's the Psalms that correspond with that and reflect that heart in the worship of God and in walking people through the the worship of the Lord and singing to the Lord there. There is throughout the scriptures this. Understanding this instruction, God desires for his people. We sing to shout to be glad and rejoice and again it says in verse 14 with all your heart that that we would put our heart into it, and that we would sing to the Lord, and so why do we do that? Well, here we're going to just look at a few things here 7 points. Because the message is supposed to be shorter tonight, so I'm only doing 7 points here in Zephaniah Chapter 3. But Zephaniah Chapter 3 we're going to be looking at verse 15 for the first few points, and then verse 17 for the final points. Here's point, #1. Why sing to the Lord? Because he has taken away our judgments. Verse 15 he says, the Lord has taken away your judgments. He has cast. Out your enemy, the King of Israel, the Lord is in your midst. You shall see disaster no more. One of the reasons why we sing to the Lord, why our hearts are stirred to praise, to shout, to be glad and rejoice with all of our hearts is because God has taken away our judgments. That the reminder for us that we deserve judgments that we like the nation of Israel are worthy of judgment. We are worthy of discipline. We are worthy of final and complete destruction. But that God. In his mercy has made a way. For us, we're about to celebrate that right. The birth of Jesus in God, sending his son to take away our judgments, to receive the penalty that we deserved, and and so we have great reason and great occasion to sing to the Lord, to shout, to be glad and rejoice with. All of our hearts because God has removed the penalty that I deserve. As Paul says in Romans Chapter 8, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according. To the spirit. There is no condemnation. There is no judgment left. God disciplines us, of course, as his children he. He chastens us. He works in our lives in that way, but it's always for edification and for good, and to bring about restoration and good. Things, but this idea of judgment is not that this idea of judgment is the complete destruction that we deserve, and so God disciplines us because he has taken away our judgments, and because he is leading us into that life everlasting, and so we can rest assured, and we can be reminded of this. Important reality. There is therefore now no condemnation. To those who are in Christ Jesus. No judgment, no wrath, nothing left for the child of God because Jesus has received the full penalty, the full payment taking it all on upon himself in our place, and so we sing to the Lord. Because he has taken away our judgments. We also sing to the Lord Point #2. Still in verse 15 because. He has cast out our enemy. He has cast out our enemy verse 15 again. The Lord has taken away your judgments he has cast. Out your enemy. Now, if you think about this to the nation of Israel. Zephaniah is prophesying to a people who are about to be conquered by Babylon, and their city destroyed. They're about to be LED away captive. This verse would not be fulfilled. In their eyes, the way that they would think the way that they would hope, right the way that they would want, they would want Babylon to just be demolished and not able to conquer them. But but that's not what the Lord is talking about here. That's not the victory that God is giving. Their enemy is not Babylon. Babylon is the instrument of God's love. Again, it's the discipline that God is bringing to them. Their enemy is not Babylon. Not their real enemy. That might be the enemy that they imagined, or that they saw. But from the. True perspective from God's View, Babylon was not the enemy, he was the loving instrument of discipline that God was bringing. The real enemy is not those things. Not flesh and blood, but real enemy. Well, is the enemy. The enemy is the devil. Or as we can see throughout the scriptures, it's been often summarized as we have three enemies as believers, the devil, the world, and the flesh, and and we all battle all of these things and and the the devil is working hard to deceive us to trick us into giving up what we have in Christ and to. Abandon the life that Christ has for. Thus, the world is seeking to persuade us and convince us to just go with the flow and go along with what is happening in the world system and our flesh is craving sinful things and desiring to pursue those things and desiring to deceive our own selves and and cause us to chase after the things that are not of the Lord. These are our real enemies. Our enemies are not. You know, the frustrating people that we have in our lives or the people, even that are antagonistic against us in our families or in the workplace. We can rejoice in the Lord, and we sing to the Lord because he has cast out our enemy, not those people, not those frustrating things. But the devil has been. Defeated at the cross. So again, there's no condemnation. That's the devil's tool, condemnation. He wants to bring that condemnation into our lives. But God has released that defeated that he's cast out our enemy now like Israel. You know, hearing this from Zephaniah, there is a greater fulfillment of this in the future, in that when the devil is locked up for 1000 years during the Millennium than cast into the Lake of Fire. Then then that is the final casting out of the devil. And at the same time. We have victory over the devil right now because of what Christ has done, and so we can rejoice and sing with all of our heart because he truly has cast out our enemy. The devil has been defeated. He has no real power against the child of God. He has no real power in our lives any longer. We have been released and set free. The world used to have a lot of power. You know Paul talks about this in Ephesians Chapter 2, how we were all caught up in the system of this world and following along as sons of disobedience. But but we have been delivered from the world's system, and sometimes we forget that we still subject ourselves to the world system, but. But again, because of what Christ has done for us, our enemy has been cast out and the world does not have the power over us like it once did our. Flesh we can surrender to it. We can give in. We can let it govern our lives. But Paul tells us in Galatians that those who walk in the spirit do not fulfill the lust of the flesh, that there is a victory. There is a casting out of the enemy that takes place because of God's work in our lives and. So we sing. To the Lord because he has provided this victory over the devil over the world and over our flesh, we can rejoice and celebrate God's work in our lives with all of our hearts. Point #3 still in verse 15 we sing to God because. He is in our midst. Again verse 15. The Lord has taken away your judgments. He has cast out your enemy, the King of Israel. The Lord is in your midst. You shall see disaster no more. The Lord is in your midst. Now the prophet Ezekiel prophesying around the same time as Zephaniah. Saw foresaw. The departure of the glory of God from the temple in Jerusalem. There was a departure of the glory because of the rebellion because of the destruction that was coming. The Lord left their midst, but there was going to be a restoration for the people of Israel. There is going to be a restoration for the people of Israel. As they turned to him and receive him as their Messiah, there is going to be a glorious presence of God, literally physically for the nation of Israel. Jesus on the throne in Jerusalem. But at the same time. For us as believers today, we are given great promises in the scripture. That we are in. The presence of God as believers in Jesus as disciples of Jesus. Jesus told his disciples in the Great Commission. Matthew 28. I'll be with you even to the end of the age. It wasn't just a promise to those 12 or to those who are there on the Mount of Olives. It was greater than that. It was much longer lasting than that Jesus's followers all the way to the end of the age have this promise. He says I'll never leave you nor forsake you. I'll be with you. The author of Hebrews quotes this in Hebrews chapter 13. And he tells us, let your conduct be without covetousness be content with such things as you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. The author of Hebrews tells us look we can take this promise of God and we can apply it to our lives and we can live in such a way we can react to it and respond to it in. Our lives and. Behave and have the right attitudes in our lives. Because of this promise, we can take this promise, apply it to ourselves, and then let that impact our lives in a dramatic way. So that, well, we live without covetousness that we have contentment, because we know no matter what we experience. The Lord is with us. He is in our midst. We have access to the presence of God. We are in the presence of God and the Lord is with us no matter. What happens around us no matter what we see or feel or think or imagine? His promise is that he would be with us until the end.

Of the age.

And of course. We can think about times of weakness or failure and feels like we think that God is distant from us at that point. But he's still in our midst. The author of Hebrews and Hebrews Chapter 4 reminds us that we have a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. Because he experienced all of humanity and he was tempted as we are, yet without sin in all points. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, to find grace, to help in time of need, that in those times of weakness where we feel the most distant from the Lord, the author of Hebrews says, that's the time to run to the presence of the Lord, to recognize that he is in in our midst to embrace him in that time and receive. The grace and the mercy that we need in that time of need in that time of weakness and failure we can sing. To the Lord. Because he is always with us and he promises to never leave us and to never forsake us. Point #4 the final point for verse 15. We can sing to God because we will see a future of no disaster. We have this great promise here. No disaster in our future. Verse 15. Again, the Lord has taken away your judgments. He has cast out your enemy, the King of Israel. The Lord is in your midst. You shall see. Disaster no more. For the nation of Israel they were about to see disaster in the Babylon that would come and conquer them, that that could be considered a disaster from their perspective. But here the Prophet Zephaniah is saying, look, the Lord has a future plan for you Nation of Israel. That is going to include no disaster. And there is a future ahead. There's a road ahead for you where you will see no destruction, no disaster, nothing like you've experienced before. Now of course we know, and I think I shared a little bit on this on Sunday as well. The promise to us is that we will have tribulation in this life, right? Jesus told us in John Chapter 16. That's a promise we we can expect to have lots of. Afflictions and difficulties and hurts and heartaches in this life. At the same time, we can also. Realize and embrace the truth. That we will not see disaster. We we might see things that we could label disaster, but in the true sense of the word, we can understand that even those things which seem like disaster. Are actually beneficial for us. And perhaps in your mind you can kind of. Walk through the. Account of Joseph. Like how many of those things could seem like disaster being thrown in the pit being sold into slavery, being falsely accused and and imprisoned. Being forgotten in the prison, you know. Disaster after disaster. We could look at it that way, but. In the end, we recognize it was not disaster, it was for salvation and even Joseph himself is able to tell his brothers you meant evil. But God meant it for good you it seemed like disaster. It felt like disaster to you. It felt like disaster to. Me but but. Actuality, surprise, surprise. It's not disaster and this is something that we can count on. For our own lives as well, we will see a future of no disaster. Now that is foreshadowing. We can look ahead at eternity and recognize there will be an end to sin and all of the things that even would be potential impossible to label disaster. But but even now, in the midst of the. Things that we might call disaster today. We can have great confidence that those things actually are not disasters. That there will not be anything that we. Look back on in eternity and say. Lord, that was a disaster. Why did you do that? Well, I take that back. There might be some things that we look back in eternity and say Lord, look at. This disaster I made. But then look how you took that and made something beautiful out of it. And so in the end it really wasn't a disaster. I made a disaster, but you made something beautiful. You brought beauty from the ashes even. And the disasters that I created for myself. Paul tells us in Romans 8 verse 28 we know all things work together for good to those who love God. To those who are the called according to his purpose, for whom he foreknew he also predestined to be continued or to be conformed in the image of his son, that he might be the first born. Among many brethren, moreover, whom he predestined these he also called whom he called, he also justified whom he justified these. He also glorified you can look forward to that future of glory, having been justified having been called having been predestined. There is that future of glory that is worth singing to God for he has this great, glorious plan of no disasters in the future, but even what appears before us right now, the disasters that we are in the midst of, even those he works all things together for good. And so they end up not being a disaster. They end up being good. And somehow some way we often cannot understand it. We cannot fully figure out logic. Cannot, you know? Be logical enough to calculate all of the things that need to be calculated to understand how this disaster could be worked together for good. It's it's hard math for us much bigger equations than we can. Handle but not bigger equations than God can handle. And so Paul says, we know this. This is something to embrace by faith. We will see a future of no disaster and an eternity. We we will recognize all that God has done for us, but until then we can in Faith sing to God and praise him with all of our hearts. For the good work that he is doing in us and for us. Well, we're going to jump now to verse 17 for point #5 you guys thought I was kidding? Nope, seven points. But look, we're at .5. I still got 13 minutes left. We're good to go. OK, so .5 we can sing to God because the mighty one. Will save us. We can sing to God because the mighty one will save us. And here we have this reminder of how mighty how big God is. Verse 17 says the Lord your God in your midst, the mighty one will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. This is just an important reminder that God is the mighty one, the all powerful. Back up one point. How does disaster become worked out for good? Only the mighty one can do that. Only the one who has all power. Who has all wisdom? Who has all knowledge? Who has all understanding only that one? The creator of the heavens and the. Earth only he. Who is outside of time? Who is the creator and and has existed from all eternity and knows all things past, present and future. Only he. Can do that? And he. Will save us. Like we have the the biggest ally, the most powerful ally that could be had, the mighty one is on our side. Also there in Romans Chapter 8, Paul asked the question if God is for us who can be against us? And so we have this strength, this power, this almighty power of God working on our behalf on our side for us and for our good we. We can rest in the salvation of God, the mighty one will save us. Paul told the Corinthians in Second Corinthians chapter one. All the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen to the glory of God through us. Now he who established us with you in Christ has and has anointed us is God who has sealed us and given us the. Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. The promise of salvation is given, but not given without any evidence or without any. Token of the fulfillment of it that God has given us the Holy Spirit as a deposit so that we experience the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We experience the leading and the guiding and the speaking and the ministering of the Holy Spirit in us and and we can recognize it as the Holy Spirit works in us. It's the guarantee. The mighty one will save us. And so we can sing to God. We do sing to God because the mighty one will save us. It's for sure it's for certain he's deposited his Holy Spirit as the guarantee for us that we might know that we have eternal life in him. Continuing on in verse 17 point #6 why we sing to God? Well, because he will quiet us with his love again. Verse 17 the Lord your God, in your midst, the mighty one will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness he will quiet you with his love. I think this is an interesting one. To think about. He will quiet you with his love. Any complaint? That we might have any grumbling that we might have any questions that we might have. You know, sometimes we kind of imagine when I stand before the Lord you know I'm going to want to find out about this. I'm going to ask him about this. I want to get understand, you know this. I think that day is going to go a lot different than we imagined. Sometimes you know it's not going to. Be us doing 20 questions with the Lord to kind of get all those facts and information that we are curious about. It's not going to be God giving answers to us as if, like he has to give an account like you know, we demand answers for this, and so God must answer them. I think we're going to be odd, of course, by the mighty one, and how glorious and holy his presence is. But also it's not just going to be us like cowering. On our knees, because he's so mighty. And we're so filthy. He's also going to quiet us. With his love. And his embrace. To us Is going to answer all of our questions. It's going to wipe away all of our tears going to wash away all of our struggles. Any anything that we would speak any complaint that we would have any struggle that we would have any question. That we would have. It will be quieted. With his love. We saw job quieted right at the end of job as he sees the Lord and he says, whoa, I've seen the Lord. And so I repent in dust and ashes. Seeing the presence of the Lord and the mightiness of the Lord and and the the presence of God was awesome, but at. The same time. The love of God being expressed and demonstrated to us. And it just leave us speechless. We have of course, the ultimate demonstration of God's love Romans Chapter 5 while we were still sinners. Without strength. Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrated his own love toward us in that while we were still. Sinners, Christ died for us. And then later in Romans Chapter 8, Paul says. So if God's not spared his own son, if he's done the greatest demonstration of his love at the cross. How shall he not also freely give us all things, everything that we need every question that we have, every struggle that we're working through? It will be resolved and answered. By the love of God. God seeking our good seeking what's best for us. We will see it. All we will understand it in eternity. But until then, we can in faith. Sing to God. With this promise, his love will be proven. Right now we. Might look at things and question his love question his ways, question his methods. But there will be a day when there will be no more questions. His love will be proven beyond doubt beyond complaints beyond a voice beyond a word, he will quiet us with his love. Well, finally point #7 looking here at verse 17. We sing to God. Because he sings. And rejoices over us. We sing because God sings. I think this is really interesting to consider. I I think I see it from time to time, but still sometimes you know it needs to be said again and it it's a little bit surprising every time. You know, whatever your mindset was as you were on your way to. Church this evening. Even if you like, let's say of the those of us who are here, you are the one who is most excited to be here at church. It's always important to remember God's more excited to meet with you. Than you are to meet with him. God's more excited about you and time with you than you are with him. As I've been encouraging you the past few weeks to pray about and consider your devotional time for 2023, I can do that. Great with great confidence because. I know if you are serious about spending time with the Lord and you seek him, he's going to lead you into that time with him that he wants to have with you. Because I know for sure without a. Shadow of a. Doubt God wants to spend time with you more than you want to spend time with him. That's true of all of us. He's more excited about us than we have ever been about him. Verse 17 again says the Lord your God in your mind. The mighty one will save. He will rejoice over you. With gladness he will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. The presence of God. The mighty hand. Of God, the working of God, the love of God is all express to us as we consider the joy. That he has. From your presence. He sings. Over you rejoices over you. He is glad that you have believed him and grasped hold of the salvation and forgiveness that he offers. He is, he is so excited about eternity with you. We have a hard time imagining eternity. It's hard for us to kind of picture. I spend a little bit of time today. One of the original founders of the company that I work for, he recently went on into eternity to be with the. Lord and his wife was in the office today talking to us where my team is helping a little bit to put together some of the the graphical things for the memorial service that's coming up. But it was a an important reminder as she was there and and you know, like Paul talks about us rejoicing or sorrowing, but not like those who have no hope that there is this rejoicing, that we can have. Frank is in the presence of the Lord at the same time there's the sorrow that we miss, that that we are missing. You know the one that we love at the at the same time though. There is that eternity and and it's hard for us to imagine eternity. It's hard for us to think about it and to to look beyond this life and to understand what what it is that that we will experience and those. That we love are experiencing. But God doesn't have a hard time understanding what is in eternity. And and we can imagine all kinds of glorious things and whatever it is, it's going to be. Greater than we can imagine. But God, as he imagines eternity. He imagines it really differently than we do, guaranteed. Because first of all, he knows what it's going to be, but but also. It's us that he's excited about. More than anything else. It's you that he's excited about. He sings and rejoices because you have believed in Jesus. And have this hope of life and this promise of eternity. He sings and rejoices over you. More than you seeing and rejoice over him, and so these are some of the reasons why we sing to God. It's some of the reasons why we lift up our voice and worship, and I want to encourage you. As you approach and enter into times of worship to do so. As a said in verse 14 with all your heart. To sing to the Lord. Because he's taken away. All of your judgments he's cast out every enemy he has promised to always be in your midst. He has provided a future of no disaster. He's working out all of those disasters that seem like they're disaster. Cheers to turn out so they're not disasters after all, as we enter into eternity, we'll see that clearly we sing to God because he has promised he will save us and we can see the evidence and the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We can sing to God because he will quiet us answering every question and washing away every doubt. Every complaint with his love that is expressed to us and because he is excited about us, he sings and rejoices over you. So sing to God, rejoice and be glad with all your hearts. Lord, we thank you. For your ongoing, continual, amazing outreach to us. Lord, we are incredibly unworthy and yet you are infinitely beyond that able to reach us, transform us and change us and deliver good things to us and in us. And so, Lord, we thank you. We pray God that you would help us to come back to that heart of worship and to give you the praise and the adoration that you deserve. As we sing as we worship as we adore you. With our voices, we pray this in Jesus name.