In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds in which you transgress against Me; For then I will take away from your midst those who rejoice in your pride, and you shall no longer be haughty in My holy mountain. I will leave in your midst a meek and humble people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. (NKJV)
The prophet Zephaniah is speaking of the remnant of Israel who will return to the Lord in faithfulness of heart and character. These people will come back to God with character that was not seen by those who were judged by the Lord. We learn about the character of being poor in spirit from this passage of Scripture.
In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds in which you transgress against Me. We see that the sins of the past are no longer an issue; what is done is done. The person who is poor in spirit has dealt with his sins in true repentance and the Lord does not allow that His children should be shamed for what was taken care of by God’s atonement. (Note here that God always atones first because he is the initiator. Repentance happens after atonement when the believer in conjunction with the Holy Spirit has a change in attitude towards sin when he sees himself as he is, poor in spirit).
IN YOU, O Lord, do I put my trust and confidently take refuge; let me never be put to shame or confusion! (Psalm 71:1, Amplified)
I cling to Your decrees; Lord, do not put me to shame. (Psalm 119:31, HCSB)
For then I will take away from your midst those who rejoice in your pride. The people of the nation will all possess the same character – that of being poor in spirit because there will be no more rejoicing in their pride. Bad character of even a few corrupts the whole nation, so the Lord will remove, or weed out, those who are corrupted with pride.
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God… (1 Corinthians 15:33-34, NASB)
You shall no longer be haughty in My holy mountain. The goal at last is reached! This should be our desire: to come to the place when we are no longer haughty, thinking better of ourselves than we really are. With God as our only focus we can achieve this. When we do not look at self, but completely rely upon the Lord we become poor in spirit.
Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50:10, NASB)
I will leave in your midst a meek and humble people. What a group of people! How nice would it be to be surrounded by only meek and humble people, all living the life of being poor in spirit? It would be much easier to remain in the character of Christ-likeness with the same minded people around you.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God… (2 Corinthians 6:14-16, NKJV)
Find people who are already poor in spirit and ask them to spend time with you. Ask them to help you in your spiritual development. Who better to ask than someone who has gone farther up the road than you?
Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon so that I also may be encouraged when I hear news about you. For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; all seek their own interests, not those things of Jesus Christ. But you know his proven character, because he served with me in the gospel ministry like a son with a father. (Philippians 2:19-22, HCSB)
For then [changing their impure language] I will give to the people a clear and pure speech from pure lips, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one unanimous consent and one united shoulder [bearing the yoke of the Lord]. (Zephaniah 3:9, Amplified)
Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:2-4, NASB)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1, Amplified)
They shall trust in the name of the LORD. The person who is poor in spirit trusts in the Lord because he has learned that he cannot trust in himself.Jer,