Zephaniah 3:14-20 – Promised Restoration

Read Zephaniah 3:14-20

God, our divine warrior, has promised restoration. “At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster.” Like our last reading, the descriptions of what life looks like and the pictures painted by Zephaniah are beautiful and enticing!

Can you imagine what the people thought when they heard that God himself would be living among them? In the days of Moses, the people feared the presence of God.  But this oracle would be fulfilled when Jesus was born, and again when Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would dwell within us. We have knowledge Zephaniah’s first audience did not. We should feel richly blessed to see Jesus in this promised restoration.

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Obadiah 17-21 – Promised Restoration

Read Obadiah 17-21

I learned today the Edomites were taken down in the 5th century B.C. God used a people called the Nabateans to defeat the Edomites and force them from their main city of Petra. The interval between prediction and fulfillment would, therefore, have been very short, assuming Obadiah was writing following the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. When Obadiah prophesied this promise, it was probably thought to be crazy. Judah was the more likely candidate to not survive (that’s only when you take God’s will out of the equation)! The Edomites would later disappear from history completely, marking the total destruction of one of Israel’s enemies.

It always helps me to understand the context of a story to aid in understanding. The Negev region was very dry and hot in the southern part of Judah. The foothills would be found in western Judah. Phoenicia would be an ancient civilization along the Mediterranean, primarily located in modern-day Lebanon.

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Joel 2:18-27 – Restoration

Read Joel 2:18-27

What divine intervention! If Joel’s earlier words led his audience to believe they would be the laughingstock for belonging to the one true God, this passage lessens the distress. Can we assume that the people did repent and pray and this is God’s response?

Have you ever feared or experienced mockery for your faith? How did that make you feel? Did you realize God was there all the time?

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