18 “I will remove from you
all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.
Following yesterday’s devotion, today’s passage is also about the joys of those who believe that Jesus will come again. We read in this passage that the ‘people of joy’ are “people who mourn over the loss of appointed festivals.” The appointed festival in this context refers to the Passover. On the actual Passover day Yahweh freed the Israelites from the oppression and bondage of Egypt. The Passover is also a foreshadow of the sacrifice of Jesus (the lamb who was slain for he sins of the world). It was through this great sacrifice that all of Israel and now Gentiles are freed and redeemed from their transgressions. Even though the Israelites experienced the first Passover, the people of Zephaniah didn’t experience that nor did they see the true Lamb. Through this passage the prophet is encouraging his readers not to loose hope. Similarly we can also draw courage and hope from this passage (Woowon).
Thoughts for the day
- Is there anything that you need to be freed from in your life?
- How can the understanding of the Passover help you in living a free and abundant life in Christ?
Look around you right now at the people who are sitting near you or standing and pray for them.