Zephaniah 3:14-17 click here for passage)
Zephaniah concludes on a high note of hope.
‘’Raise the rafters, Israel!’’ The Message.
God’s people should be ‘the happiest people on earth’ (14) – a people of unfettered praise; an exuberantly joyful community, praising God from the heart. A friend of mine was going through a tough time. He told me that he wrote to a well-known pastor in America, who, he knew, had been through a similar set of circumstances. This renowned man of God replied, encouraging him to discover the awesome power of spiritual song. My friend not only read the ‘prescription’; he also took the ‘medicine’. He found it had a delightful taste! When I was staying with him, I would hear him get up in the early morning, go downstairs, and pick up his guitar and sing to the Lord.
Consider some reasons why we can have unbounded joy:
- The Cross of Jesus and all it means (15a): Here are two aspects of its significance – forgiveness of sins and the conquest of all spiritual foes. (The Lord has ‘’taken away’’ our ‘’punishment’’ because He took our punishment on Calvary.) May we never lose the wonder of the Cross;
- God’s reign over you, and His presence with you and in you (15b, 17a). ‘’From now on, GOD is Israel’s king, in charge at the centre…Your GOD is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you.’’ The Message.
- There is nothing to fear (15b, 16). When you allow the revelation of who God is and who you are in Him to overwhelm your thinking, you realise that there is nothing to fear and no reason to be discouraged. (You don’t have to ‘’let your hands hang limp’’ 16b). Nothing can happen to you that will ‘’harm’’ There may well be many things that will ‘hurt’ you, but nothing can ‘harm’ you in any ultimate sense. Your God is ‘’mighty to save’’ and you are safe. (Reflect, for example, on Revelation 20:4. Is it not true to say that these faithful ones were hurt but not really harmed? They are eternally safe with God. Revelation gives us the bigger picture.)
- God the Father’s ‘maternal’ characteristics (17b). He loves you so much. He is like a mother doting on her young child. It is a truly beautiful picture.
Today, you have every reason to sing and not be silent, if you are a believer in Jesus. Learn how to be happy (and stay happy) in God! Your circumstances may not tend towards happiness, but you can learn to make yourself (or allow yourself to be) truly happy. The truth will set you free – if you let it!
And don’t forget the awesome power of spiritual song.
Prayer: Lord, you have put a new song in my heart. Don’t let the devil steal it from me. I choose to sing and not be silent, for you are faithful and you are good.