0 15 mins 3 dys
July 10, 2024
DAILY BIBLE READING – Zephaniah Chapter 3
1 Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.
Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.
The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.
I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant.
I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings.
Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain.
12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.
13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
15 The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.
17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.
19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
King James VersionPublic Domain

Commentary
Threat Against the Godless Jerusalem (Verses 1-8)
Zephaniah 3 begins with a sharp indictment against Jerusalem, described as a wretched, unclean, and oppressive city. This description highlights the moral decay and unwillingness of its inhabitants to listen to God or be guided by Him. The princes and judges are depicted as roaring lions and wolves, abusing their power and oppressing the people. Even the prophets and priests are scorned and irreverent, defiling the sanctuary and misinterpreting the law.
The Righteous Lord (Verse 5)
Amidst this corruption, God remains just and unwavering. Every morning He teaches His justice, but the wicked show no shame or remorse. This verse emphasizes God’s constancy and righteousness in contrast to the people’s wickedness.
Past Destruction as a Warning (Verses 6-7)
God reminds them of how He has wiped out nations and destroyed cities to demonstrate His power and seriousness. This should serve as a warning for Jerusalem to fear God and be disciplined to avoid the same fate. Yet, the people remain stubborn in their wickedness.
God’s Final Reckoning (Verse 8)
God announces that on the Day of Judgment, He will gather all nations and kingdoms to pour out His wrath on them and consume the world with the fire of His jealousy. This is a proclamation of universal judgment and purification through God’s wrath.
Promise for the Humble and Lowly People in Israel (Verses 9-20)
Pure Lips for the Nations (Verse 9)
After the judgment, God will give the peoples pure lips so that they all may call on the name of the Lord and serve Him with one accord. This promise points to a time of spiritual renewal and unity under faith in God.
Return and Restoration (Verses 10-13)
God’s worshippers will be brought back from afar, and the people will no longer be ashamed of their past transgressions. The proud will be removed, and a humble, lowly people will remain, trusting in the Lord. These people will live righteously, without fear or deceit, and will graze and rest in peace.
Joy and Salvation (Verses 14-17)
The daughter of Zion and Israel are to rejoice because God has taken away their punishment and turned back their enemies. The Lord is in their midst, a mighty Savior who delights in them and is kind to them. These verses describe the joy and security the people will experience under God’s protection.
God’s Care for the Afflicted (Verse 18)
God will gather the afflicted, who were unable to participate in the festivals, and free them from their shame. This shows God’s compassion and care for those who have suffered.
Help for the Oppressed and Despised (Verses 19-20)
God will help those who have been oppressed, heal the lame, and gather the outcast. He will make them a praise and a name in all the lands where they were put to shame. Finally, God will restore the fortunes of His people and lead them to honor and fame before all nations.
Summary
Zephaniah 3 presents a strong contrast between God’s judgment on sinfulness and His promise of renewal and salvation. The city of Jerusalem is sharply rebuked for its moral failings, but God also offers hope for a purified and humble people who will live in peace and joy under His reign.

 

 

WEEKLY SPIRIT OF PROPHECY READING – Ellen White | The Desire of Ages Chapter 45: The Foreshadowing of the Cross
This chapter is based on Matthew 16:13-28; Mark 8:27-38; Luke 9:18-27.
Read online here

 

Commentary
Introduction:
This chapter deals with the profound preparation and awareness of Jesus regarding his impending suffering and death. Based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it highlights Jesus’ foreknowledge of his path to the cross and his dedication to fulfilling God’s will.
Jesus’ Awareness of His Suffering:
Jesus was fully aware of the pain and agony that awaited him. Even before his incarnation, he had foreseen the entire path of suffering. Despite knowing the impending torments, insults, and deprivations, he chose to walk this path out of love for humanity. His willingness to fulfill God’s will demonstrates his deep dedication and obedience to the Father.
The Significance of the Cross:
The cross is a central symbol in this chapter. Jesus saw it not only as an instrument of his suffering but also as a means of redeeming humanity. Despite the impending pain, he was encouraged by the prospect of human salvation. His suffering and death were meant to bring people back to faithfulness to God.
Preparation of the Disciples:
Jesus prepared his disciples for the upcoming events. He knew they would witness his crucifixion and death and wanted to strengthen them. In a city near Caesarea Philippi, far from the influence of the Jews, he spoke with them about their faith and reaffirmed their conviction that he was the Messiah.
Peter’s Confession:
Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus praised him for this and explained that this revelation did not come from human wisdom but through divine inspiration. This recognition formed the foundation of the disciples’ faith and the future Church.
The Announcement of Jesus’ Suffering:
For the first time, Jesus spoke openly about his impending suffering and death. This announcement deeply shocked the disciples, as they were still hoping for an earthly kingdom. Peter’s attempt to dissuade Jesus was sharply rebuked by Jesus, as he misunderstood the divine mission.
The Concept of Self-Denial:
Jesus explained to his disciples the necessity of self-denial and taking up the cross. This meant denying one’s own self and being willing to endure suffering for the sake of Christ. This message was and still is a central teaching of the Christian faith.
Encouragement through the Promise:
Jesus encouraged his disciples with the promise of his coming kingdom in glory. Although they did not fully grasp the depth of his words, he gave them hope that they would ultimately see his glory.
Conclusion:
Chapter 45 shows the profound preparation and awareness of Jesus regarding his suffering and his dedication to fulfilling God’s will. It emphasizes the necessity of self-denial and taking up the cross for every follower of Christ. The disciples were prepared for the coming trials while Jesus simultaneously encouraged them with the hope of his ultimate glory. These teachings remain relevant today and inspire believers to remain steadfast in their faith and follow Jesus.

 

 

WEEKLY SPIRIT OF PROPHECY READING – Ellen White | The Desire of Ages Chapter 46: He Was Transfigured
This chapter is based on Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36.
Read online here

 

Commentary
Introduction:
Chapter 46 describes the Transfiguration of Jesus, based on accounts from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This episode reveals a significant disclosure of Jesus’ divine nature and provides the disciples with a brief glimpse of heavenly glory.
The Ascent on the Mountain:
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him to a secluded mountain. Although they are exhausted, the disciples follow their Master into the evening hours. The darkness enveloping the mountain symbolizes the sorrow and trials that Jesus and his disciples will soon face.
Jesus’ Prayer:
Jesus moves a short distance from the disciples to bring his concerns and needs before the heavenly Father in prayer. He asks for strength to endure the forthcoming suffering and for a revelation of his glory to strengthen the disciples’ faith. Despite their efforts to stay awake, the disciples are overcome with fatigue and fall asleep.
The Transfiguration:
While Jesus prays, the heavens open, and a holy radiance envelops him. The divine within him shines through his human form, and his appearance becomes as bright as the sun. Moses and Elijah appear and converse with Jesus about his impending death in Jerusalem.
Significance of Moses and Elijah:
Moses represents those who will be resurrected at Christ’s return, while Elijah represents those who will be transformed without experiencing death at Christ’s return. Their presence confirms Jesus’ divinity and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.
The Disciples’ Reaction:
The disciples awaken and are overwhelmed by the heavenly glory. In his enthusiasm, Peter suggests building three shelters to preserve this moment. However, the significance of the Transfiguration lies not in earthly reign but in the confirmation of Jesus’ divine mission, which must pass through the cross.
God’s Voice:
A bright cloud overshadows them, and God’s voice declares, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The disciples fall to the ground in fear until Jesus calms them and helps them up. This experience strengthens their faith and gives them a deeper understanding of Jesus’ identity and mission.
Conclusion:
The Transfiguration is a significant revelation of Jesus’ divine nature and serves to strengthen the disciples’ faith and prepare them for the upcoming sufferings. It shows that Jesus is indeed the Messiah foretold by the prophets and that his suffering and death are part of the divine plan of redemption. The Transfiguration gives the disciples a foretaste of future glory and confirms that Jesus is the Son of God, whom they are to follow.
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