Today you should read: Zephaniah 3:1-20
A joyful song of anticipation…
In Zephaniah 3, verses 1-8 are words of judgment. The judgment verses are a result of the sin of the people of Israel and of the other nations. Like the book of Jeremiah, the book of Zephaniah signals the end of Judah. It was about to be attacked and destroyed by the Babylonians. Because of their idolatry of other gods, God was going to destroy them. The Babylonians would soon kill and capture them. But the Lord’s purpose wasn’t for His people to be destroyed forever. His purpose was to purify them, making them new, and giving them a future hope.
Verses 9-20 are the words of hope. God tells them and us about what this destruction will result in. The result of the destruction of Judah will be that His people will “call upon the name of the Lord,” (v. 9). They will need Him and call out to Him. God uses their destruction to lead them to repentance and give them life and hope through that repentance.
Specifically, in verses 14-20, we see what the amazing result will be! Read them again and let those verses refresh your soul.
In verse 14 we see a call for the people to praise the Lord in anticipation of salvation! Keep in mind that this is directly in the midst of their destruction. Judah is not happy or fearless right now, rather they are sad and fearful! That’s why these verses are so spectacular. They are called to do the opposite of what they feel right now, because in the future God will bring the opposite of what they are experiencing right now! Do you see it? They are experiencing death and fear, but in the coming future they will receive life and they will never fear again (v. 15-17)
I cannot help but relate this to our life here on earth. Though now we are experiencing death, we are called to rejoice because of the life that is to come. We are called to sing a song of anticipation.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 describes this well:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
So, though now we are in the midst of death, destruction, fear, anxieties, loss, tragedy, pain, suffering, and sadness… rejoice. Sing a joyful song of expectation. We are but a mile away from seeing Him face to face and hearing His voice say, “well-done, good and faithful servant.” Let the words of Revelation 21:3-5 bring this joyful song of anticipation even more near to your lips:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Posted by: Sam Cirrincione