June 24, 2018
There is a moment of great sweetness when the storm has passed, when we emerge from our hiding places to greet the brightness of the day. I’m sure you have known many such moments. The storm has been threatening and loud; the branches have been bent by the force of the wind; some have broken. The rain has been a constant drumming against our rooftop, it has lashed the streets outside and sent the trash can spinning away. But now, the skies that had been dark with menace have lightened; the sun has finally reappeared; the birds have reemerged and begun to sing. Cautiously, you open the screen door and step out into air that has been refreshed and renewed by the storm. It is a new day, and you are glad.
Zephaniah’s prophecy, which we have been working our way through for some weeks, ends not with a repetition of warning, but with the sunshine of God’s favor. It comes like a breath of fresh air after a storm. The people rejoice; but they are not the only ones to do so. After His chastening hand is removed, God Himself seems relieved that His people have listened, and turned from their wickedness. Zephaniah writes that God “will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Our holy God does not take pleasure in correcting us. He is neither vindictive nor cruel. If He withdraws His smile, it is only in order to draw us back to Himself, into the safety of His will. But when we do come, repenting of our folly, seeking His forgiveness, and trusting in the atoning work of Christ, then we find out that He is still “mighty to save.”