“‘The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.’” (Zeph. 3:17, NIV).
In the closing section of his book (Zeph. 3:9-20), Zephaniah turns from a theme of anger to one of restoration. Beyond the judgment, we come to God’s ultimate goals. When the nations have been disciplined, they will together call on the Lord and serve Him cordially. The lips of the people will be purified so that all may worship and praise the Lord by serving Him. A small yet humble and faithful remnant will survive in Judah and will take the place of the proud leaders.
Most important, God will dwell among His people and He will make past wrongs right. No longer will they need to live in fear because the Lord will be with His people, dwelling in the midst of them. He will be their Deliverer and Savior. “‘They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid’” (Zeph. 3:13, NIV).
Such blessings would normally cause God’s people to rejoice over Him, but the prophet declares that God will rejoice over them. His love and joy for His people will be so great that He will shout over them with jubilation.
How did the prophet Isaiah describe God’s joy over His redeemed people? Isa. 62:5, 65:19.
The great King, the divine Warrior, will protect and vindicate His people. He will grant them all the benefits of His victory, the one that He won for us at the cross. He will exalt the humble and turn disgrace, suffering, and alienation into an experience of honor, blessings, and His own presence. Prominence will be given to the lame and the outcast, a theme that lies at the heart of the message proclaimed by Jesus Christ.
Even amid such dire warnings, the Lord offered His people hope. How can we, as Seventh-day Adventists, trusting in the promise of the Second Coming, learn to live day by day with that hope? How can we learn to keep that hope alive, especially in times of trouble when the world offers us nothing but sorrow?