The God In Your Midst
by Zack Howard
God saves his people. That has always been his promise and theme in the Bible. From the exodus from Egypt to the Judges in the promised land, God was with his people and caring for them. God was always in the midst of his peoples, whether they had recognized it or not. So when Zephaniah the prophet praises God, it revolves around him saving his people. In his praise, Zephaniah teaches us two vital lessons on God in our midst.
Zephaniah is looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, the Savior sent by God. The coming of the Messiah was a joyous thought, especially for a people who were constantly looking for someone to lead them righteously. His prophecy in 3.14-20 revolves around the blessings of the Messiah, while recalling what God has done for the people. “15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies (3.15).” God has taken away their enemies, and now the people of God can look ahead to what is being promised: God in their midst.
The God in Your Midst Loves and Rejoices.
Zephaniah tells the people of the joyous things “the King of Israel, The Lord (15)” would do. “17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (3.17)” The Savior of God’s people is going to comfort his people. His joy shall spread over them, and his love shall calm them. We have this same promise as God’s people, and we have more knowledge about the Messiah.
Jesus was sent by God as the Savior to his people, and he showed joy over those who came to him, and love for all his people. As God’s people, Jesus loves us and rejoices over us. His love quiets our fears and comforts us, helping us to know he is watching over us and preparing the way for us. Jesus is God in our midst, and he loves us and rejoices over us being his people.
The God in Your Midst Saves and Restores.
Secondly, Zephaniah exclaims the salvation and restoration of God in the midst of his peoples. “19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 20 At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord. (3.19-20)” The coming Messiah for Israel will save them from oppression; he will save them from their shame, and turn it to praise. God in their midst means restoration among the world, restoring them to the praise of all, rather than the shame from others.
The Messiah does restore his people; Jesus restores his people to praise and glory in his father. As his people, we can take comfort and be confident in his restoration, knowing that he has made us great to his Father in heaven by taking away our sin through his death on the cross. How wonderful it is, to know that Jesus has restored us to the glory of his father, if only we go to him and live in him!
Zephaniah’s prophecy is one of praise and glory. The God in our midst is Christ; he came as the Messiah for God’s people, and through him they are comforted and loved; they are restored and saved. Our hope as God’s children is the same as the people of Israel of old; we have a Savior restoring us to his father, redeeming us from sin.