Zephaniah 3:18-20 (click here for passage)
‘’I will give them praise and honour in every land where they were put to shame.’’(19b).
These verses may have an immediate reference to the return from Babylon following punishment and exile, but they clearly look beyond it to a much greater ingathering of Jews from across the globe.
Verse 18 probably refers to the sorrow the godly captives felt when they could no longer attend the ‘’appointed feasts’’.
There have been repeated and terrible outbreaks of anti-Semitism in history, and we are seeing something of a resurgence now. It is heart-breaking to observe, and any of us who can say something and/or do something to stand with persecuted Jews should do so. Of course, this principle also extends to other oppressed peoples whose rights are trampled on. But it is important to remember that God has a special purpose for the Jews in the story of salvation. They were His chosen instrument to give us Jesus and the Bible. What happens to them is a key to the further fulfilment of prophecy in preparation for the return of Jesus.
We can take heart, then, from the vision in this reading: ‘’In the very countries where they were hated they will be venerated.’’ The Message. Consider too Paul’s teaching in Romans chapters 9-11. What Zephaniah and Paul were writing about may not be identical, but they give us something to joyfully anticipate, and faithfully believe for as we pray. God has a glorious future planned for the Jewish people, and it will mean blessing for the whole world. (See especially Romans 11:11-32).
In our own times we have seen many Jewish people returning to the land of Israel. In the years when this didn’t seem likely (for example, even back in the 19th century) there were Bible students writing books, saying that the Jews must return to the land God gave them in the first place. They said it had to happen because it was in God’s inspired and unbreakable Word. They were right.
All of this reminds us that history is moving towards a God-ordained climax when Jesus Christ will return to this world. Somebody pointed out that a huge proportion of the Bible is prophecy, and the majority of those prophecies have already come to pass – to the letter. The remainder have to do with the end of this world as we know it and the return of Jesus. They will be fulfilled.
Now, are you ready?
Prayer: Thank you for your Word, Lord. It focuses on Jesus. Our hearts burn when we think about Him, and we long for His return to the earth. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We pray for your blessing and protection on all persecuted minorities
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