Summary: A stunning promise! God rejoices over his people with singing? But can we, by faith, hear it?
There is a story about a father and his son.
The two were extremely close.
Since the mother had died of cancer a few years earlier the two grew closer than ever.
The boy grew up to be a young man.
And suddenly he was called up to fight in the war.
The father’s heart was broken as his son left.
One day the father got a report he had been dreading.
His son had been killed in combat.
A few months later there was a knock at the door.
It was a young man, whose arm had been blown off in battle.
Beneath his good arm was a photo wrapped in brown paper.
The young man spoke and said,
Sir, you don’t know me but I wanted you to know that your son saved my life.
He took the bullet so I wouldn’t have to.
And your son meant so much to me I painted this picture of him.
The soldier handed the picture to the proud father.
The father unwrapped it to find a badly painted picture of his son.
The father was actually a wealthy man that collected fine art.
And he took his Picasso and Van Gough paintings down and instead put up the picture of his son.
Years went by and the father grew old and weak. And he died.
His house was to be auctioned, and people from all over the world came to his estate to bid for the Picasso and other famous paintings.
The auctioneer started the auction with the painting of the young son.
Groans swept across the crowd.
And they shouted, “Come on! Get on with the good stuff, take that worthless thing down.”
The auctioneer ignored the jeers and said, “Who will make the first bid? A pound, anybody?”
Up from the back came the old gardener and asked if he could buy it.
The gardener had known the boy as he was growing up.
He bought the picture for £1, and began to walk down the aisle with the picture tucked under his arms.
Suddenly the auctioneer slammed down the mallet and said, “Sorry everyone. The auction is over. In the Will it reads, ‘Whoever has the son, gets it all.’”
And that’s exactly what the Bible says!
Whoever has the Son, gets it all.
In Christ we have it all!
2 Corinthians 1:20 – “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are YES in Christ.”
We keep that text in mind as we read from Zephaniah chapter 3…
Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-17
The prophet with royal blood.
Descended from king Hezekiah.
He prophesied sometime during the reign of reforming king Josiah.
God speaks through Zephaniah.
The day of the Lord is coming.
A great judgment day.
Judah has failed to walk with God.
There is one way and only one way to avoid great national tragedy: humility.
Two key verses...
Zephaniah 2:3 “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.”
“Zephaniah 3:11-13” On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. But I will leave within you the meek and the humble, who trust in the name of the LORD.”
Pride and hope can never belong together.
If we want to have a future hope, we must let go of our pride.
We tend to think that a person is proud if they look in mirror too much.
Or if they boast about things they own or have done.
But the greatest and most grotesque pride of all is seen in the one who says:
I’ll do it my way.
Those who feel they don’t need God.
There is no hope for those who will not come to God in humility.
But there is a stunning hope for those who do.
Zephaniah is given a vision of the distant future.
A time when the humble remnant will be blessed.
1. What is Judah to do?
v14 Judah is to celebrate.
And celebrating means singing, shouting aloud, being glad, and rejoicing!
As pastor and deacons gathered for prayer the other day, M led us in a chapter from Nehemiah.
And one question he asked was,
Do we really know what it means to celebrate?
The people of God are often called to celebrate.
2. Why is Judah to celebrate?
v15 Judah is to celebrate because the Lord has done four things for her...
He has taken away her punishment.
(Punishment for Judah would include the coming Babylonian exile.)
He has turned back her enemy.