READ : Zephaniah 3:1-20
At that time I will . . . gather you. (v. 20)
The German author Goethe created a classic character, Faust, who sells his soul to the devil in return for success. In Samuel Beckett’s play, “Waiting for Godot,” two actors just wonder and wait, but Godot (i.e., God) never shows up.
Zephaniah’s prophecy is about warning and waiting. Don’t compromise to gain worldly power. Don’t calculate your strength by how great your country’s fortifications and cities are (v. 6). Don’t grow arrogant, foolishly thinking God is a dream who will never appear. Instead . . .
Wait for God’s deliverance: it will surely come. Start celebrating even now (v. 14). Though your rescue may not come today, do not fear or weaken (v. 16). God is coming like a warrior. His gift will make your eyes sparkle. God is coming full of love for you (v. 17). He’ll turn your troubles into laughter.
When your doubts make you wonder if wealth and happiness really are found on the devil’s side, when that cunning inner voice suggests that the long wait for distant promises from an ancient book and a mysterious God is fruitless, the prophet says instead . . .
Sing out loud, rejoice, and get ready. The Lord is coming. In the New Year ahead, be joyful, be expectant!
Come for me, Lord, and keep me faithful until you do.