August 6 (Daily reading: Zephaniah) Zephaniah was a prophet in the days of King Josiah. Judah declined spiritually after Hezekiah died, but Josiah led the nation to make many reforms. He was backed by the prophets Jeremiah and Nahum, but Judah would not change its ways. Zephaniah’s theme was the approaching “day of the Lord:” “Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near” (1:7). The day of the Lord is mentioned six times by Zephaniah and was associated with God’s judgment on the nations.
Then a new theme is announced: “I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder” (3:9). Prideful people would be removed; “But I will leave among you a humble and lowly people, and they will take refuge in the name of the LORD” (3:12). It is noteworthy how often scripture talks to us about the efficacy of humility! Both James and Peter quote Proverbs 4:34 which states that God gives grace to the humble (Ja. 4:6; 1 Pet. 4:5).
This amazing transformation in the remnant of Israel would be a source of great joy: “Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!” (3:14). The reason for this joy was obvious: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (3:17, NIV). Think about that a moment: the Lord finding delight in you, calming you, rejoicing over you! We can only praise Him, and serve Him together, “shoulder to shoulder” (3:9).
– Al Gary