Zephaniah was a prophet – a man sent by God to deliver a message to God’s people. The message he brings is bad news. And the very best.
God’s people have been worshiping cows and other gods and goddesses made of stone and metal (again). They have plenty to share but ignore the needs of the poor, lame, widowed, orphaned, and foreigners. They’re acting just like the godless nation-neighbors around them!
“God sees you!” Zephaniah says.
He promises enormous foreign armies will soon arrive to destroy all the idols and corrupt businesses in Jerusalem and carry God’s people off into captivity.
But there is good news too!
Zephaniah promises that after many years in captivity, God will free his people like a mighty warrior and gather them together in Jerusalem. He’ll invite Israel’s enemies too! The Babylonians, Assyrians, Philistines – all of them! He’ll welcome all the people Israel has left out – the poor, lame, widowed, orphaned, and the foreigners. God will send everyone an invitation!
“I see you!”
When all the guests arrive, God will throw a huge party with lots of singing! And God’s song will be the loudest…
“God will be so happy with you; he will quiet you with his love; but he will rejoice over you with the loudest singing!”Zephaniah 3:17b
Many generations later, that warrior will be born. And God’s invitations will go out to all people. To lowly, smelly shepherds. To stargazing astrologers from Babylon. To the poor, lame, widowed, orphaned, and foreigners…until one day all of Jerusalem is packed with people and full of singing: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
No one will be left out.
RESPONSE: Look for the left-out today and find some way to include them and show them God’s love.
One way to do that? Sponsor a child who’s been waiting for a sponsor for more than a year at compassion.com/shaungroveschristmas. Just one of many ways your family can welcome the left-out this Christmas.