"Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away the judgements against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil"
Is this your song? Is this your life? The question that the Bible beckons every man and woman, is, 'Have you experienced this forgiveness and restoration? Where your life was once ruled by sin, you were once separated from God and you rightly deserved His judgment, but now, through Christ you have been forgiven. Your life is now defined by knowing, worshipping and glorifying God. Your life is defined by God's presence.
If your life isn't defined by the kind of praise Zephaniah describes in verse 14, (Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with ALL your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!) it is because you haven't experienced the truth of verse 15. We all deserve God's judgement. On an individual level we are guilty. On a corporate level we are guilty. In this passage, the prophet Zephaniah is fortelling of a time when Israel will be restored. Though they deserve God's wrath, God has a plan to redeem sinners.
The judgement we deserve is God's wrath. We deserve death. Here is the good news. Throughout the history of man, God had been pleading with man to turn back to him. Yet, in our stubbornness and wickedness, we always went our own way. Our efforts were never enough to make things right. And we continued in our way. But God wasn't done with us. He promised that He himself would make a way for us to know Him, and enjoy Him, and be redeemed from sin once and for all. The promise was fulfilled in His Son Jesus. The Father sent the Son to take upon himself the judgement we deserve. We all alike, are by nature sinful, judgement deserving creatures. Yet, God is so loving and gracious, He left His throne in heaven, and took the punishment upon himself that we rightly deserved. This was out of sheer grace. God can take away the judgement reserved for us, because Jesus, at the cross, absorbed the judgement.
Now, to those who believe in Jesus, there is no more condemnation. This is reason to praise. This is reason to 'rejoice and exult with all your heart'.