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The prophets speak an interplay of judgment and mercy, sometimes moving from one to the other with startling suddenness.  In Zephaniah severe warning comes, for both Judah and her enemies.  But in the end the Lord gives His people a promise of grace in some of the warmest terms in Scripture.

“The LORD has taken away your punishment,” He says to Jerusalem (3:15).  What shall they expect of God now?  I think we expect that after punishment is done we’re in a stigmatized probationary status, or at best we’re on neutral footing.

The grace of God is extravagant.

Instead of shame His people are given security and the blessing of His presence and reign.  Far from neutral footing, neither favored nor unfavored by God, here is the image of His restoration:

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

How often do we reckon with that richness of grace?  These words are spoken to Jerusalem, but the promise may be fairly apprehended by the people of God as His words of love for those He redeems.  When God reconciles a people with Himself they become the objects of His delight.  A prayer: that our restless souls would come to Him with every fear and care, and learn what it means to be quieted by His love.

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