(Today's post by Chris Queen)
Have you ever dreamed of what the perfect world would be like? All of us have said it at one time or another, “In a perfect world,” such-and-such would happen. Maybe you wish your boss would give you a raise. Maybe you wish your family were more understanding. Or maybe you wish you could take something back you said or did.
For ages, dreamers and theorists have come up with ideas for a perfect world. There’s a word for it: utopia. The Greek word utopia essentially means, “no place.” The reason that definition applies is because these ideals either failed when tried – like the communitarian experiments of the mid-19th century – or never made it off the drawing board – like Walt Disney’s ultra-cool Progress City, where residents would always have the newest technology at their fingertips.
At the end of Zephaniah, we get a glimpse at the only real perfect world, where God’s people will live with Him forever and nothing – not even sin or enemies – will stand between Him and His beloved.
8 “Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day I will stand up to testify.”
11 “On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12 But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord. 13 They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.”
16 “On that day they will say to Jerusalem, ‘Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. 17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
19 “At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. 20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.
How inspiring is that! There will be a day when God’s people will be with Him forever! A time when He will take great delight in us! A day when he will rejoice over us with singing! (Think about the idea of God singing directly to you. I bet He has a cooler voice than even Al Green or Chris Robinson or Johnny Cash…)
There are two takeaways from today’s reading, depending on where you are in your relationship with God. If you’re certain that you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, be excited! Rejoice in what’s to come! If you’re not sure of your eternal destination, there are plenty of us guys who would love to talk to you about it. Feel free to talk to me, to any of the other New Normal writers, or to one of the pastors or elders. Today is not too late to become a follower of the Most High God.