A glimpse of restoration
We seem to have got into a bit of a cycle in Join Our Journey recently. Have you noticed? Warnings of destruction and exile followed by a glimmer of hope. More warnings of destruction and exile and then another glimmer of hope. Yet more warnings of destruction and exile, then yet another glimmer of hope. It’s a little repetitive, to be sure, but it represents the cycle of God’s wrath in the light of His compassion, the consequences of the people’s actions in the light of God’s mercy.
And so, as we draw to the end of the book of Zephaniah, we bathe in that glimmer of hope once again.
The restoration of Israel’s remnant.
I love that word, restoration. There’s hope in that word, right there. Relationships that can be restored; physical health, mental health, emotional health; cities and nations and walls and peace and purpose and love and joy and hope…
Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
and serve him shoulder to shoulder. Zephaniah 3:9
There’s a purification that needs to take place. The actions of the people have had consequences. They have become separated from the one true holy God and cannot approach God in the state that they find themselves in.
And then it all comes down to trust and obedience, as it has all the way along this journey. Restoration of relationship with God means calling out to Him for help, relying on Him for deliverance. Restoration of relationship with God means serving Him, working alongside Him to bring about this long-awaited restoration and reconciliation.
I will remove from you
your arrogant boasters.
Never again will you be haughty
on my holy hill.
But I will leave within you
the meek and humble.
The remnant of Israel
will trust in the name of the Lord. Zephaniah 3:11-12
Back to pride and humility again, the main motif of this book. Arrogance says ‘I don’t need God’. Arrogance asserts ‘My way is best’. Arrogance claims to know and understand the mind of God, the ways of God.
There is no place for the arrogant in God’s kingdom.
God’s people know that they need God. They know that God’s way is best and they choose to walk in that way. They do not understand and yet they still choose to trust.
In following God in this way, the people will live in righteousness. They will do the right thing and there will be no need for lies. A new sense of security and safety will reign, where all can eat and be provided for and lie down in safety without fear of attack. God will be their shepherd and will provide and protect and nurture.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. Psalm 23:1-2
This is God’s promised restoration.
There’s much to be grateful for. Much to sing and shout about.
God will deliver you.
God will spare you from the punishment you deserve.
God will show mercy.
God will be with you. Always.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
He will take great delight in you. How is that even possible? After all His people have done and said….after all you and I have done and said…
And no one will be forgotten –
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles. Zephaniah 3:19
At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home. Zephaniah 3:20
Bring you back. Restore your relationship with the Creator, the one who loves you, who has always loved you. The one who has waited for this moment, longed for it. The one who delights and rejoices at your return.
I will bring you home.
Let these words speak into your heart and give you the glimpse of hope and strength and love that you need to get through this day.