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.
He had been waiting 15 years to hear the verdict. Deep in his heart, Jacob knew they deserved maximum punishment. They had treated his son in the vilest way. The beating alone was enough to sentence them to death, but the murder intensified the crime, overwhelming him with grief. Jacob stood up slowly and approached the podium. He pulled a crinkled up paper from his suit-panel pocket. He unfolded the paper, looking his son’s assaulter’s in the eyes as he read, “You are pardoned.”
Fear to Rejoicing | Zephaniah 3:14-15 | Sing! Shout! Rejoice! “The Lord hath taken away thy judgments…” Is there anything more liberating than to be exonerated from sin? When judgment is removed from the guilty, there is reason to rejoice! This is not the only reason to rejoice; you see, fear is abolished in this great exchange as “the Lord, is in the midst of thee…” (Zephaniah 3:15). Psalm 32 says it best, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit… Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
Mourning to Gladness | Zephaniah 3:16-18 | Psalm 16:11 beautifully states, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” God’s presence offers pleasure to whoever receives Him. When God is in our midst, we can be certain:
- He saves
- He rejoices over us with joy
- He provides rest in His love
- He joyously sings over us
- He gathers the sorrowful to Himself
Shame to Praise | Zephaniah 319-20 | God’s presence does NOT offer shame. Shame is defined as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Shame pronounces us guilty and deficient. Jesus pronounces us guiltless and promises that his grace will be sufficient for us in all our weaknesses. As we trust Jesus as our righteousness and our provider of everything we need, shame will lose its power over us.  In verse 20, the Lord promises to “…turn back your captivity before your eyes.” What praise accompanies such victory!
You are pardoned, my friend! You have been offered a second chance at life. Sing! Shout! Rejoice!
 Oxford Languages. “Shame.” Google Dictionary, 31 January 2021, https://www.google.com/search?q=definition+of+shame&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS766US766&oq=definition+of+shame&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5j0i395l2.5016j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 John Bloom. “Breaking the Power of Shame.” Desiring God, 31 January 2021, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/breaking-the-power-of-shame
What are some reasons you have to rejoice?
How does God’s presence accompany gladness in your life?
Who will you tell about the pardon which you have received?