Lent Devotional: Zephaniah 3:14-20

by Jonathan Haefs

Today’s devotional is authored by John Kegley

Zephaniah 3:14-20 (click here to read the entire passage)
Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil. (Zephaniah 3:14-15)

Reflection
This is the already.

Singing aloud. Rejoicing. Exulting.

These are the rhythmic motions which characterize the people of God in a fallen world. We sing even when pandemic strikes. We rejoice even when uncertainty abounds. We exult even when darkness appears to encroach.

What cause do we have to sing, to rejoice, and to exult? What makes our singing, rejoicing, and exulting right, praiseworthy, and beautiful and not irrational, delusional, and naïve?

The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.

We are a people who sing, rejoice, and exult because we have seen the salvation of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We have seen how the Lord has taken away judgments against us and placed them upon his only begotten and beloved Son. We have seen how the Lord has removed our enemies—sin, death, and the devil. He has done these things for us… for you. Yet he has done these things apart from you, indeed, despite your unworthiness, unloveliness, and fallenness. He has not done these things as your partner or equal, but as your Lord and Savior. This is why we sing. This is why we rejoice. This is why we exult.

The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.

By faith we belong to another King and kingdom. No longer do we belong to the domain of sin and kingdom of darkness, but now we belong to the kingdom of the Lord. In this kingdom, God dwells with us by the Holy Spirit. He is Immanuel, God with us; God in our midst.

How then can we fear evil when we are comforted by the rod and staff of our Shepherd-King? How then can we fear evil when the Son has breathed the Spirit of comfort into our souls? How then can we fear evil when the love of God has been poured into our hearts? How then can we fear evil when God saved us while we were yet his enemies? How then can we fear evil when the Father did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for our salvation?

No weapon against us shall prosper. No power of hell or scheme of man will ever pluck us from his hand. We are more than conquers through him who has lavished his love upon us.

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
Behold, at that time I will deal
with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you in,
at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes,” says the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:16-20)

This is the not yet.

Our eyes have beheld the salvation of God. Our eyes have seen the glory of the Lord in the person of Jesus Christ. And so we sing, rejoice, and exult. Yet we await the day when we will see him face to face. We await the great reversal of all things, the restoration of our fortunes, every wrong made right, every enemy dealt with, shame turned to praise, embarrassment changed to renown. We await the day when our singing, rejoicing, and exulting in God will be met with God’s singing, rejoicing, and exulting over us. We await the marriage feast of the Lamb, the consummation of the kingdom of God.

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.