Day 205: Promise to Zion

Isaiah 30:1-33 Judah and Israel were taken to task here for making plans without consulting the Lord and for trusting in foreign alliances instead of God. Forming alliances exhibited a reliance on the power of pagan peoples rather than on God. This lack of confidence would yield catastrophic consequences. Nevertheless, the Lord promised that Judah would survive and that prosperity would be restored, provided they repented. Lastly, Assyria would suffer humiliating defeat.


Ch 30:15 Complete trust in God brings about serenity and strength amid even the most difficult trials. (CCC 227)


Ch 31:1-9 This brief lamentation again called for trust in the Lord alone rather than in human alliances.


Zephaniah 3:1-20 In this condemnation of Jerusalem, the Holy City was characterized as prideful, oppressive, and rebellious. Zephaniah blamed the leaders of the Jews for not enforcing the laws or keeping Israel on God’s path. (CCC 1836)


Ch 3:13 None shall make them afraid: The peace that ultimately comes from Christ will allow those who receive it to live without fear out of total confidence in God’s loving protection.


Ch 3:14-17 The language of the Lord being “in your midst” is reminiscent of the Incarnation as well as of Mary, of whom the angel said, “The Lord is with you.” (CCC 473, 722, 2676)

Ch 3:18-20 As commonly occurs, the final word is one of encouragement rather than a threat of doom.

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • Ok so Chs 30 and 31 of Isaiah are SO GOOD!

  • One of the reasons is because it’s a story where we hear Isaiah preaching in a context that we COMPLETELY KNOW

  • Isaiah is talking about this rebellious people

  • Isaiah 30:1, “...who carry out a plan, but not mine; and who make a league, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin…”

  • What do they do?

  • Isaiah 30:2, “who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my counsel, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh, and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!”

  • REMEMBER THIS!

  • When the Assyrians were coming into the Kingdom of Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM), the people wanted to go down to Egypt to make an alliance

  • “Let’s make an alliance because the Assyrians are coming in, and if we can make an alliance with you, then you are going to be the ones who fight with us against the Assyrians.”

  • Remember, Isaiah is speaking to the king and the people saying, “NO! YOU DON’T NEED TO DO THIS BECAUSE THE LORD GOD WANTS TO FIGHT FOR YOU!! Remember the HISTORY of how God had fought AGAINST THE EGYPTIANS to set you FREE FROM SLAVERY! He is going to do it AGAIN, if you just TRUST HIM!”

  • Isaiah 30:3, “...the protection of Pharaoh shall turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.”

  • We are going to talk about SHAME a little bit today

  • Just a little bit

  • Not too much

  • But why?

  • Isaiah 30:5, “everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.”

  • What is THAT??

  • The Egyptian officials are at Zoan and the envoys reach Hanes

  • So who is “THEM”?

  • THE EGYPTIANS!

  • Basically, Judah has nothing to offer the Egyptians that they would be willing to ACCEPT in order to form an alliance

  • They have nothing that brings help or profit, but only SHAME AND DISGRACE

  • It’s EMBARRASSING how desperate the Kingdom of Judah is

  • EVEN THEN…

  • God is saying, “That’s not the point. The point is not that you are embarrassed because you want help.”

  • Isaiah 30:7, “For Egypt’s help is worthless and empty, therefore I have called her ‘Rahab who sits still.’”

  • Basically you can reach out to Rahab, reach out to Egypt, and they are NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING

  • BUT…

  • Here is what’s going on

  • Isaiah 30:9-10, “For they are a rebellious people, lying sons, sons who will not hear the instructions of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘See not’; and to the prophets, ‘Prophesy not to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions...let us hear no more of the Holy One of Israel.”

  • THIS IS SO IMPORTANT

  • This is maybe WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR

  • A lot of times, the voices we put into our ears and put into our minds, that form our hearts are NOT NECESSARILY THE VOICE OF THE LORD

  • This is Day 205 and we have been LISTENING and READING Scripture because we DO want to say, “God, you have permission. God, I know what I think and I know what the people that I like think. But I want to know what is the truth you want DECLARED, Lord God?”

  • THAT IS SO IMPORTANT

  • Because our TEMPTATION is to say to the seers, “See not”

  • Because our TEMPTATION is to say to the prophets, “Prophesy not”

  • Because our TEMPTATION is to SKIP OVER Isaiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, and Joel, and all these other prophets we are going to hear in the future

  • AND YET…

  • “No, it’s ok Lord. Actually speak to me.”

  • Isaiah Ch 30 continues it says GOD’S PROMISE TO ZION

  • Here is Zion where Jerusalem is built

  • The Assyrians are going to come against you

  • BUT…

  • Isaiah 30:20, “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it…’”

  • Then you will turn away from your idols

  • THIS IS SO IMPORTANT

  • Because the Word of the Lord, and God himself brings JUDGMENT upon Assyria

  • Remember that King Sennecharib marched against Jerusalem and he was saying that they would completely destroy Jerusalem

  • He had destroyed EVERYONE ELSE

  • Why did they think the Lord God is going to protect them?

  • IN A SINGLE NIGHT THE LORD GOD DEFEATS THE ASSYRIANS

  • God PROMISES this is what’s going to happen

  • The ROD OF THE LORD will strike against the Assyrians

  • God reminds us and them in Isaiah Ch 31 that HELP FROM EGYPT IS FUTILE


  • FIRST CONDEMNATION:

  • Isaiah 31:6-8, “Turn to him from whom you have deeply revolted, O people of Israel. For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you. And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, NOT OF MAN.”

  • THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US!!

  • Yes, this the historical context of Isaiah preaching to the people and to the king

  • “NO! Not by alliance with Egypt, but by God’s power will he deliver you. You just have to WAIT!”

  • WE HATE THE FACT THAT WE HAVE TO WAIT!

  • AND YET…

  • That is also the word from God through Zephaniah

  • Remember yesterday that there are FIVE CONDEMNATIONS of the People of Judah in Zephaniah Ch 1

  • There are also FIVE CONDEMNATIONS of the People of Judah in Zephaniah Ch 3

  • Zephaniah 3:1, “Woe to her that is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city!”

  • Not only are they in REBELLION

  • But the OPPRESSING CITY, Jerusalem, not only are they themselves REBELLIOUS

  • Not only are they themselves DEFILED

  • BUT…

  • They are SPREADING IT AROUND

  • They are OPPRESSING OTHERS

  • They are bringing their REBELLION TO OTHERS

  • Basically, it’s one of those realities we have that sometimes OUR SIN DOESN’T END WITH US

  • OUR REBELLION DOESN’T END WITH US

  • How many times have you been in a situation where you said something CRITICAL that you NEVER would have said but YOU HEARD SOMEONE ELSE SAY IT?

  • How many times have you been in a situation where you DID something that NEVER would have done but you SAW SOMEONE ELSE DO IT?

  • And you see SOMEONE ELSE doing the same thing BECAUSE THEY SAW YOU DO IT?

  • Or you see SOMEONE ELSE saying the same thing BECAUSE THEY HEARD YOU SAY IT?

  • That is this REBELLION

  • That spirit of CRITICISM

  • That spirit of REBELLION

  • Maybe we got it from SOMEONE ELSE and then we PASS IT ON TO OTHERS

  • This is what the first CONDEMNATION IS

  • Not only are you in REBELLION, but you have also OPPRESSED OTHERS, you have SOILED OTHERS


  • SECOND CONDEMNATION:

  • Zephaniah 3:2, “She listens to no voice, she accepts no correction.”

  • They are ignoring the VOICE OF GOD

  • This can be US as well

  • The Jewish people were IGNORING the voice of God, ACCEPTING NO CORRECTION

  • That’s one of the virtues, to be DOCILE

  • DOCILITY simply means, “I am open to being TAUGHT.”

  • So ask yourself, “Am I open to being taught?”

  • Just like in Isaiah today...

  • Ask yourself, “Do I want to say to the seer, see not?”

  • Ask yourself, “Do I want to say to the prophet, prophesy not?”

  • Ask yourself, “Or am I open to the voice?”

  • Ask yourself, “Or am I open to accepting correction?”


  • THIRD CONDEMNATION:

  • Zephaniah 3:2, “...She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God.”

  • So they withdrew their TRUST IN GOD

  • So far, the condemnations are REBELLION and spreading rebellion to others

  • You IGNORE the voice of the Lord and you don’t accept CORRECTION

  • You WITHDRAW your trust from the Lord and you don’t even GO NEAR TO HIM


  • FOURTH CONDEMNATION:

  • Zephaniah 3:3, “Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning.”

  • The LEADERS eat all in the night and they don’t leave anything for the next day

  • They are SELF-INDULGENT to the point where they are not giving ANY FORETHOUGHT TO THE FUTURE

  • They are living in such a way that they are taking care of themselves RIGHT NOW but they have NO VISION for what will provide people after them or even the people around them ENOUGH

  • THEY ARE OVER-INDULGENT

  • THEY HAVE NO LONG-TERM VISION


  • FIFTH CONDEMNATION:

  • Zephaniah 3:4, “Her prophets are wanton, faithless men; her priests profane what is sacred, they do violence to the law.”

  • THIS IS SO CRITICAL FOR ALL OF US!!

  • Yes, the prophets and the priests are doing evil things

  • They are wanton and faithless people

  • BUT…

  • They do VIOLENCE to the Word of God

  • They do VIOLENCE to the Law

  • They DISTORT the Law

  • THIS IS CRITICAL!

  • This could be what WE do

  • Whether we IGNORE the voice of God

  • Whether we IGNORE the Word of the Lord

  • Whether we TWIST the Word of God so that it means WHAT WE WANT IT TO MEAN

  • So all these FIVE CONDEMNATIONS:

  • REBELLION and SPREADING REBELLION

  • IGNORING THE VOICE OF GOD

  • NOT TRUSTING GOD OR DRAWING NEAR HIM

  • SELF INDULGENCE WHERE YOU HAVE NO VISION FOR THE FUTURE FOR CARING FOR OTHERS BEYOND YOURSELF

  • YOU ARE DOING VIOLENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD



  • Then we have this last word in Zephaniah 3:5, “...but the unjust knows no shame.”

  • The unjust is also SINNERS

  • Remember in Isaiah today, it talked about SHAME as well

  • Here is an interesting thing

  • SHAME can be a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE (Raise your hand if you ever had a shameful memory from your past pop into your head and it made you feel so bad that you tried to SHOUT IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD….Oh just me? Ok carry on 😉)

  • ALL OF US have experienced it

  • We might call it TOXIC SHAME

  • That sense of where we beat ourselves up and we beat ourselves down WITHOUT MERCY and WITHOUT EVEN TRUTH

  • BUT...

  • There is also a GOOD PART OF SHAME

  • There is a DOUBLE MEANING OF SHAME

  • St. John Paul II talks about this when it comes to the Garden of Eden

  • The man and women were naked YET they knew no SHAME

  • Then when they FELL IN SIN they actually knew the were naked and they EXPERIENCED SHAME and they covered themselves

  • St. John Paul II points to that and basically said, “Actually their experience of shame has a dual thing. One is that they EXPERIENCE THE SHAME, ‘I don’t want to be seen.’”

  • “But secondly, then they COVER THEMSELVES which is to say that they RECOGNIZE that there was something STILL GOOD IN THEM that ought to be covered. That even though they felt SHAME, there was still something GOOD IN THEM that needed to be covered up.”

  • In that sense, GOSH, we can be oftentimes a SHAMELESS CULTURE

  • “No it’s nothing to be EMBARRASSED about!”

  • “No it’s nothing to be ASHAMED of!”

  • But actually, we OUGHT to be ashamed of our sin in some ways

  • NOT TOXIC SHAME!

  • Not where we beat ourselves down to the point where we can’t stand up

  • BUT…

  • We ought to be ashamed TO SOME DEGREE of what is SHAMEFUL in our lives

  • Remember, the UNJUST knows no SHAME

  • Remember, the UNJUST is SHAMELESS

  • But those of us who FEEL SHAME can say, “No, Lord. Correct me. Lord, let your Word open my mind and open my eyes to be able to see here is where I have fallen short.”

  • BUT…

  • Here’s the thing...IT DOESN’T END THERE!

  • We can get AFRAID OF ACCEPTING SHAME!

  • We can get AFRAID OF RECOGNIZING THAT THE SHAME THAT OUGHT TO BE THERE is because the world doesn’t have any REMEDY FOR SHAME

  • So what does God say?

  • Zephaniah 3:11, “On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me…”

  • THIS IS SUCH GOOD NEWS FOR EVERY ONE OF US THAT EXPERIENCES SHAME, BOTH THE TOXIC KIND AND THE GOOD KIND!

  • WHEN GOD ARRIVES

  • Even if those deeds are OUR FAULT

  • Even if we have something to be ASHAMED OF

  • Zephaniah 3:19, “Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their SHAME into PRAISE and renown in all the earth.”

  • Zephaniah 3:14, “Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart…(WHY??)...[because] The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has cast out your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst.”

  • THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE PROPHECY OF JESUS CHRIST COMING!!

  • Jesus Christ who is the KING is going to be COMING IN YOUR MIDST

  • Emmanual, GOD WITH US, GOD DWELLING WITH US!

  • Zephaniah 3:15-16, “...you shall fear evil no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not fear, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory…”

  • THIS IS JESUS, RIGHT?

  • JESUS WHO CONQUERS DEATH THROUGH HIS CROSS

  • JESUS WHO CONQUERS SIN THROUGH HIS CROSS

  • JESUS WHO CONQUERS SATAN THROUGH HIS CROSS

  • JESUS CHRIST IS THE WARRIOR WHO GIVES VICTORY!

  • Zephaniah 3:17, “...he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.”

  • GOD HIMSELF IS THE IMAGE!!

  • This is why we HAVE TO EMBRACE THAT SHAME at first, in the HEALTHIEST POSSIBLE WAY!

  • Because He will REJOICE OVER YOU

  • Because He will turn your SHAME into PRAISE AND GLORY

  • Because He will turn your SHAME into SOMETHING ELSE

  • But if we say, “No I don’t have any SHAME,” then He doesn’t have anything to TURN INTO GLORY!

  • On that day, God Himself will SING OVER YOU IN JOY!

  • On that day, GOD HIMSELF WILL SING OVER YOU WITH JOY!

  • RIGHT NOW THAT IS WHAT GOD WANTS TO DO

  • RIGHT NOW, EVEN, IS A DAY OF REDEMPTION!

  • If you have been made into God’s SON or DAUGHTER, HE ALREADY REJOICES OVER YOU

  • HE ALREADY SINGS OVER YOU

  • HE WANTS TO TURN THE SHAME THAT ALL OF US HAVE INTO SOMETHING INCREDIBLE!

  • HE WILL TURN YOUR SHAME INTO GLORY AND HIS PRAISE FOREVER AND EVER!

  • SO…

  • You don’t have to HIDE

  • You don’t have to RUN AWAY

  • You don't’ have to DENY IT

  • You just have to LET HIM HAVE ACCESS TO OUR SHAME SO THAT HE CAN TURN IT INTO SOMETHING INCREDIBLE!

  • SHAME IS NOT OUR END!

  • SHAME IS THE TOOL THAT GOD IS USING TO TRANSFORM INTO GLORY!

  • GOD LOVES YOU!

  • GOD EXULTS OVER YOU!

  • GOD HIMSELF SINGS OVER YOU!

  • THEREFORE, RAISE YOUR HEAD AND DO NOT BE ASHAMED!!

  • Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE

  • PRAY FOR EACH OTHER


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and thank you. Thank you for this opportunity to be together. Thank you for your Word that you continue to speak to us. And thank you for the Holy Spirit that helps us to unpack and unlock your Word because of your teaching, your truth, and the way in which you reveal your heart through the Word that you have spoken to us through the prophets. Those here today, Isaiah and Zephaniah. And through even the wisdom of Solomon who assembled these pieces of wisdom so that we can understand and we can live our lives in a way that he failed to live his life. And we can be guided by your wisdom, by your truth, and by your Word. Thank you, Father. Help us to not only hear your Word, but to listen to it. Help us not only to know of it, but to accomplish it in our lives by your Grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”