Message of the Day: The Joy of Restoration
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17, KJV)
The book of Zephaniah speaks in powerful ways of both God’s judgment on sin and his gracious act of salvation for the humble and undeserving. 3:9-20 is a closing oracle of hope divided in three parts: (1) the purifying of the remnant, who will rest secure in Jerusalem and live humbly and righteously (9-13); (2) the rejoicing of both the people and Yahweh that reverberates throughout the restored city (14-17); and (3) the gathering of the people and their receiving praise and honor in exchange for shame (18-20).
When all the sinners have been destroyed, the humble who have previously turned from their sin will then enjoy a new life of peace and blessing. In the midst of judgment there is mercy for the repentant. Cleansed sinners from all nations will worship and serve God with pure hearts. No longer will Jerusalem be characterized by the pride, rebellion, dishonesty and deceit of Zephaniah’s day. Wrongdoing will be removed from the community of God’s people.
Although God’s people may be previously have had sorrow because of his punishments upon them, now they will have joy. They will dwell together with God, their king, without fear of further judgment. In view of this promising future, they are not to be lazy or discouraged, but alert and full of confidence. Defeat will be replaced by victory. God will take away their shame and in his love give them new life. Exiles will be gathered from the lands of their oppression and be established again in their own land. Under God’s rule they will share with him in receiving praise from the whole earth.
There is no greater joy than the possession of the object of one’s love, too great for words to express. Such joy is felt in heaven when God restores repentant sinners back to his fold.
Fee, Gordon D. & Stuart, Douglas. How to Read the Bible Book by Book. A Guided Tour. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2004.
MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.
Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.
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