Sing it out, Daughter Zion!
Shout it out, Israel!
Rejoice and let your heart thrill, Jerusalem!
God has commuted your sentence
And repelled your enemy.
God, Isreal’s king, is among you,
You need not fear further harm.
That day, it’ll be said to Jerusalem:
Don’t be afraid, Zion,
Don’t give up.
God, your God, is among you,
As a victorious warrior.
God will sing you into joy,
And with love calm you.
God will sing with joy for you,
Let the party begin!
I will clear away the disaster,
So you won’t be embarrassed by it.
Then you’ll see how I’ll deal with your oppressors.
I’ll heal the lame,
Gather in the outcast,
Change their shame to fame,
So they’ll be looked up to all over the world.
Then I’ll bring you home,
And gather you in,
And make you famous
And people will applaud you
All over the world.
You’ll get everything back.
These last few verses of Zephaniah’s scroll come as an appendix, penned in exile after all the doomsday predictions of the earlier 3½ chapters came true and swept the ancient Judean kingdom (such as it was, already in shambles) away.
It had been a time of unmitigated disaster. The people blamed God. The prophets, claiming to speak for God, blamed the people. Bad times.
From exile, after things had hit rock bottom, finally there is a glimmer of recognition of what once was. It’s no longer about blame. Now, it’s just about getting back home. From the far-away distance of exile, the partisan wrangling finally comes to an end with the shared nostalgia for the glory days of the past.
Its a shame that so often, then and now, it has to come to losing something in order to appreciate it. Why is it that until the moment of loss, it’s so common to take the good for granted as something to fight over? Wouldn’t it be better to use it as a platform for making the future even better?
Today is a day of unprecedented opportunity. If you’re reading this, you have more resources at your disposal, at the press of a keyboard than most of the people in the world right now, and more than any generation has had since the beginning of time. And yet, the conditions we have to use it are fragile.
Don’t wait until it all comes crashing down to wish then for what you have right now.