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Zephaniah 3 (New International Reader's Version)

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The LORD Will Save Jerusalem

1 How terrible it will be for Jerusalem! Its people crush others. They refuse to obey the Lord. They are "unclean." 2 They don't obey anyone. They don't accept the LORD's warnings. They don't trust in him. They don't ask their God for his help. 3 Their officials are like roaring lions. Their rulers are like wolves that hunt in the evening. They don't leave anything to eat in the morning. 4 Their prophets are proud. They can't be trusted. Their priests pollute the temple. They break the law they teach others to obey. 5 In spite of that, the LORD is good to Jerusalem. He never does anything that is wrong. Every morning he does what is fair. Each new day he does the right thing. But those who do what is wrong aren't even ashamed of it. 6 The LORD says to his people, "I have cut off other nations. I have wiped out their forts. I have left their streets deserted. No one walks along them. Their cities are destroyed. Not even one person is left. 7 I said to you people of Jerusalem, 'Because I cut off other nations, you will have respect for me. Now you will accept my warning.' I wish you had returned to me. Then your homes would not have been torn down. And I would not have had to punish you so much. But you still wanted to go on sinning in every way you could. 8 So wait for me to come as judge," announces the Lord. "Wait for the day I will stand up to witness against all sinners. I have decided to gather the nations. I will bring the kingdoms together. And I will pour out all of my burning anger on them. The fire of my jealous anger will burn the whole world up. 9 "But then I will purify what all of the nations say. And they will use their words to worship me. They will serve me together. 10 My scattered people, you will come to me from beyond the rivers of Cush. You will worship me. You will bring me offerings. 11 You have done many wrong things to me. But at that time you will not be put to shame anymore. Then I will remove from this city those who take delight in their pride. You will never be proud again on my holy mountain of Zion. 12 But inside your city I will leave those who are not proud at all. They trust in me. 13 Those who are still left alive in Israel will not do anything wrong. They will not tell any lies. They will not say anything to fool others. They will eat and lie down in peace. And no one will make them afraid." 14 People of Zion, sing! Israel, shout loudly! People of Jerusalem, be glad! Let your hearts be full of joy. 15 The LORD has stopped punishing you. He has made your enemies turn away from you. The LORD is the King of Israel. He is with you. You will never again be afraid that others will harm you. 16 The time is coming when people will say to Jerusalem, "Zion, don't be afraid. Don't give up. 17 The LORD your God is with you. He is mighty enough to save you. He will take great delight in you. The quietness of his love will calm you down. He will sing with joy because of you." 18 The LORD says to his people, "You used to celebrate my appointed feasts in Jerusalem. You are sad because you can't do that anymore. So others make fun of those feasts. That was a heavy load for you to carry. But I will bring you back to your city. 19 At that time I will punish all those who crushed you. I will save those among you who are disabled. I will gather those who have been scattered. I will give you praise and honor in every land where you were put to shame. 20 At that time I will gather you together. And I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all of the nations on earth. I will bless you with great success again," says the Lord.
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