Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. (Zep 3:19 KJV)
Zephaniah prophesied to those in Israel who were about to be carried into exile by the Babylonians. Because of Israel’s sins and idolatry, they were about to be completely destroyed and carried away captive.
But God makes a tremendous promise to them – at least to those who had the ears to hear. For there were still a few left in Israel who would also suffer along with the wicked. God says to them that the time will come when He will gather them back together and save them. Therefore they were to sing aloud with joy, for God rejoices over them with singing (3:17).
The time would come very soon when the people of God would be chained together behind the horses of Babylon and forced into a long march to a strange nation.
But God tells them: I will deal with those who afflict you. The affliction to come is not the final word. It may appear as if the Babylonians are blessed by God. They will appear to be invincible and you will appear to be weak and good for nothing except to be used as slaves until you are dead.
But for some, it would be even worse. What about those who were lame, or who did not have the strength to walk the long distance to Babylon? What about those who fell? To the Babylonians it didn’t matter. They would be left to die where they fell or dragged by the horses until they were dead and someone noticed.
But God’s promise in 3:19 is that He would deal with the cruelty of Babylon. And that He Himself would save the lame and the outcast. Even though they would be forgotten by men, counted as rubble by the powerful of the world, used for the lusts of the rich – God would not forget. He will save the lame and gather those who were driven out of the land.
God has a special care for the weak and helpless that put their trust in Him. He has a purpose for all that He does, and much of it we can’t see – especially in times of oppression and pain. But God calls us to look up from our chains to the One who is Seated in Heaven and sing with joy!
He will deal with the oppressors and He will gather together the lame and the outcast.
And those who were counted as nothing will be given a name. They will be set for praise throughout the world.
He will use the weak to confound the wise. The day will come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God.
In that day, oppression will cease. The weak will be strengthened, the poor made rich, and the afflicted will be lifted up, for we will be partakers in the one whose Name is above every name.