Zephaniah 3: Promises
December 20, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Zephaniah 3, Job 38:22-41, John 20:1-9, Revelation 17
Chapter 3 continues Zephaniah’s denouncement of God’s people, and God’s judgment upon sin and wickedness. In particular, the leaders of God’s people have let her down:
Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy;they do violence to the law (3:4)
But God, nonetheless, has a plan of restoration and one that will include all nations. So that, “all of them may call upon the name of the LORD” (3:9). And now “that day” is also a day of hope and salvation:
On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain (3:11)
The humble and the lowly “shall seek refuge in the LORD” (3:12). In fact, there is now plenty of reason for celebration:
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 judgments against you (3:14-15)
The promise of God’s restoration and blessing is far reaching and wonderful:
‘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. At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,’ says the LORD (3:19-20)
Such promises as these—fulfilled in Christ and his kingdom, and finally established when he shall return—are given to us to encourage us and give us hope even in the midst of difficult darkness or trauma. Our reason for joy is not based upon our internal feelings or our external circumstances, but on the sure and abiding Word of God, his promises, guaranteed by his own person. With that solid rock underneath us, we can face adversity, not without a realistic sense of its difficulty, but at the same time with a joy-filled supernatural assurance, based in truth, of a far greater reality, a far greater promise, a far greater hope, that outweighs all the challenges of our lives. Rest in God’s promises, take hope, and rejoice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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