Zephaniah is announcing imminent destruction and ultimate glory, judgment on the masses and mercy on a remnant. Our portion of his message is focused more on the future glory. The Lord says:

At that time I will bring you in, 

Even at the time when I gather you together;

Indeed, I will give you renown and praise

Among all the people of the earth,

When I restore your fortunes before your eyes.

As the gatherer, I envision the Lord as a master weaver drawing many threads together, creating a grand tapestry. To us there seems to be so many dissimilar threads; we struggle to imagine an end product ever coming from God’s loom. And even if we could, what would we do with it? What does that tapestry have to do with us?

So many threads. There are nations and individuals. Evil and good, rich and poor, weeping and rejoicing. Threads of divine and human sovereignty. Threads of judgment, restoration, attacks and testings, time and eternity, flesh and spirit, religion and philosophy. This is overwhelming. Yet Zephaniah declares God is weaving all of these and more into something that will ultimately cause unprecedented celebration.

 Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion!

Shout in triumph, O Israel!

Rejoice and exult with all your heart,

O daughter of Jerusalem!

Two major threads of the tapestry are the nation of Israel and the Church. God began by claiming a people out of the desert and introducing himself to them through the Law of Moses. The weaving of these people of the Law into the tapestry, though not forgotten, has been delayed until He gathers all His choice gentile threads into the fabric. By faith, the gentiles have also become sons of Abraham and will be a part of the rejoicing Zephaniah foretells.

I believe “those who grieve” (vs. 18) currently are major threads in the tapestry. These people aren’t grieving that ancient ritualistic feasts are being ignored. They grieve because the church is not partaking of the feast which has already been prepared (Psalm 23:5). This group knows a tapestry is supposedly being woven. They grieve because it seems someone is pulling on the threads, instead of gathering them. The presence of evil and the delay of righteousness is a burden to them.

The petitions and prayers of this caring remnant look beyond the immediate affairs of man to the ultimate intentions of God. Their willingness to carry some of God’s longings, qualifies them as leading threads. God will use their story to attract the original tribes. Those who have realized that God has “taken away His judgments against them and cleared away their enemies,” are going to stir things up. I believe God will use the advance celebration and joy among Gentiles to provoke jealousy and ultimately produce faith among Jews.

Father, even if it appears crude or nonsensical to us, permit us to see your intention and artistry. May we be living thread in the work of Your hands. May your original tribe see your work and ask to be included. Amen.


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