“Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; 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.”-Zephaniah 3: 14-20
In a challenging world, these are heartening words. Zephaniah is an ancient book and it reminds us of an important truth. God is in the business of grace. Often we think of grace as being related merely to forgiveness, but it is bigger than this. Grace is that thing which transforms. Grace takes suffering and turns it into blessing. Grace turns defeat into victory. Grace moves us from despair into hope. Grace is what God does.
Certainly we live in a world in need of grace, and so we ought to think about these words from Zephaniah. We ought to consider them and use them to transform not only our hearts but our lives. This is a season of grace; there is no greater manifestation of God’s grace than the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Let the grace of these words, the grace of this season and the grace of our savior shape the way we live. We should treat one another with grace. We should see one another with grace. We should be agents of positive change in this world and in the lives of others. We should celebrate the words of Zephaniah, “The Lord, your God, is in your midst.”
Prayer: Holy God, help me to be an agent of grace. Help me to bring grace to those whom I love and those whom only you love. I ask that you would guide me, strengthen me and transform me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.