May 26th, 2020 – Zephaniah 3:17

Verse of the Day Devotion: Zephaniah 3:17  The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.     

Zephaniah was an Old Testament prophet who prophesied during the reign of King Josiah.  In the beginning of this book, Zephaniah declared a woe to the city of Jerusalem.  “Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, The tyrannical city!”  Why was she denounced?  “She heeded no voice.  She accepted no instruction. She did not trust in the LORD. She did not draw near to her God. Her princes within her are roaring lions, Her judges are wolves at evening; They leave nothing for the morning. Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men; Her priests have profaned the sanctuary. They have done violence to the law.” Zephaniah 3:1-4.  She was declared here rebellious, defiled, and reckless.

However, to His people He says, “Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD, “For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal.” Zephaniah 3:8.  Here, it appears He is grouping the evil ones in Jerusalem with the other nations that do not follow Him.  Note the wording ‘For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal.’  This looks like the time of Christ and afterward, that Zephaniah is prophesying of the new Jerusalem.  “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.”  Zephaniah 3:9.  This probably refers to those Jews who convert under the gospel to serving the Messiah.  And these will be content and holy.  “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong And tell no lies, Nor will a deceitful tongue Be found in their mouths; For they will feed and lie down With no one to make them tremble.” Zephaniah 3:13. 

Because of the above, Israel will be restored as His people.  And there will be great rejoicing.  “Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more. In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp.” Zephaniah 3:14-16.  This is after the second coming of Christ and our lives in the New Jerusalem.  At this time, His judgements against Israel and us has been removed, and our enemies will never more afflict us. And probably the most beautiful part of this verse, the King of Israel, the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ will be with us forever, and we will have no reason to fear anything anymore.   

Which brings us to our focus verse. “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17.  And here is why we have reason to rejoice.  First, the Lord our God will always be in our midst.  He will always by near us.  He is a victorious warrior who has defeated our enemies and delivered us from our enemy and our sins.  And He will be silent in His love.  This is a difficult statement to understand, but in my studying and after some prayer, I believe His love for us will be so powerful and evident that no words will be needed.  Albert Barnes has an intriguing point where he says He will not bring up anything of our past but will rejoice in His future with us. 

This picture of God’s love for us and our future with Him is an amazing image of total and complete contentment that will have no end.  Not only will we rejoice because of our love for Him, God will rejoice because of His love for us.  It will be as it always should have been but for the rebellion.  We cannot imagine it because, as Paul so poignantly stated, “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9.  I will say though that I look forward to it greatly.

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