Hey there, Relentless Students! So, today is day 5 of the 30-day devotional and I hope you are all following along.
Today's passage is Zephaniah 3:17 which says
"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."
Zephaniah was a prophet during a time that the Israelites were walking away from God. The crazy part is this is only 1-2 generations (about 50-100 years) after being exiled from their land for exactly that reason. You see, the Israelites have a history of calling out to God in a time of need, but once everything is good they just do their own thing. Then God allows things like war and exile to happen to them and they repent, begging for God to show mercy, repeat. So, at this point, they are no longer doing as God asks and Zephaniah is warning them of what is coming if they don't repent. Now, long story short, they don't repent and another exile is coming.
Keeping the above in mind read the verse at the top again. Doesn't it sound a little cheerful for the doom and gloom Zephaniah was warning them about? You see, in the second half of the third chapter this song of joy about what God will do in the future. A.K.A. after the exile. You see at the beginning of the chapter it is doom and gloom for the people of Israel and surrounding nations, but then the tone shifts in verse 9. God says "...I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech..." You see, God is going to work through the people and bring about the joy we see in verse 17 and surrounding.
So, what's the point? Let me ask you a question, where are we now? We aren't in peaceful times exactly with everything going on, but I don't think we are "in exile" like the Israelites experienced. I think we are in a place where verse 9 and on can be our story. If we have hope for the future we can open ourselves up to be used by God to spread His message, even now.
You see, people need hope. We have hope. God wants us to spread this hope to those around us. Now, I also know we gotta keep that 6 feet, but there are other ways you can spread hope. It can be as simple as calling your grandparents to check in on them. The idea here is that we can have hope and be at peace, because "God is in our midst". He is here with us and hasn't forgotten about us. Let's repay that by thinking about those around us who need hope.
Today's challenge has a few pieces to it. First, read all of Zephaniah 3 and write down some thoughts about the shifts in the song. Second, write your own "song" that reminds you even in these times God is here. Third, find a way to show someone else the hope you have, whether it's just a phone call to grandparents, leaving baked goods at a neighbors door or writing encouraging notes on the sidewalk.
Prayer for the day
God, we thank you for this day! Thank you for the sunshine and warmer weather. Thank you for being here with us, in our midst. Thank you for loving us and reminding us of that through the scriptures. We pray for health in our nation. We ask that you would have your hand on all those working in the health industry right now, give them peace, guidance and let them know they are loved and appreciated for their hard work. God we love and adore you for who are and what you're doing. We thank you in Jesus' name, Amen.