By Ellen Ceely
“‘I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach. 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. 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.” - Zephaniah 3:18b-20
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “home”? Depending on who you are and where you came from, “home” might be a wonderful place you enjoy returning to or a difficult experience you try to forget. Maybe the feelings that rise within you are nostalgia, love, and longing. Or perhaps you feel some version of dread, sadness, and anger.
In today’s verses we see God specifically talk about how he will deal with Israel’s oppressors and remove disaster from them. Israel was facing trouble and oppression because they’d chosen to walk away from God. But as we saw yesterday, God desires reconciliation with his people no matter how far away they may stray from him in their sin. God doesn’t leave his people to drown in judgment. He chooses to save them.
Zephaniah has prophesied that Israel will be scattered as they face judgment for their actions. But God gives them a promise here that cannot be ignored: one day he’ll bring them all home. One day, God will gather his people together to be with him forever. While some of Zephaniah’s promises for redemption can be pointed at as having been fulfilled, this one seems like one that is yet to come.
What does that mean for us today? As God’s chosen people grafted into the family of Israel (Romans 11:11-31), we will all one day enjoy the home that God creates for us. Regardless of our experience with home here on earth, home with God will be even better than anything we can imagine.
God’s home will be a place of joy and safety, where the lame and the outcast are gathered, and shame disappears. Home with God will be a place of restoration and praise. In God’s home we will be safe and happy, and no one will oppress us ever again. When things seemed impossible and our sin overwhelmed, Jesus made a way. One day he will return and fulfill this ultimate promise of hope and home.
Take some time today to reflect on what home with God will be like. What have you seen from the Bible about what heaven will be like? What do you imagine as you dwell on the idea of home with him? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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