Handfuls on Purpose

by James Smith, 1943

ZEPHANIAH
 

THE BLESSINGS OF THE LORD. Zephaniah 3:10-20

The blessings here promised are, of course, for Israel, and will be completely fulfilled when the Lord will bring full deliverance to His waiting people at His Second Coming. But the spiritual import is for God's people in every age. Shall we look ató

I. What He has Done. In the light of our own experience as Christians.

1. He Has Taken Away your Judgments (v. 15). The judgment hanging over us like a thick cloud, because of sin. He has taken away because of the Cross. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). The judgment is past, and the true light now shines upon the forgiven soul.

2. He Has Cast Out your Enemy (v. 15). He has dislodged that wicked spirit that still works in the children of disobedience. Satan's sphere of operation is now outside the citadel of the justified soul. Therefore keep your gates closed against him, and yield not to temptation.

3. He is in the Midst of You (v. 15). The Mightier Spirit has come to take possession. He shall be with you and in you (John 14:17). Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. You are more than conquerors through Him. "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved." "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age."

II. What He Will Do. God is in the midst of you.

1. He will Save (v. 17). The salvation of God is a past, present, and future deliverance. One great whole in His eternal purpose. Don't we need a daily salvation from sin and folly, from doubting and fearfulness, from spiritual apathy and ignorance, from self-assertiveness and fruitless testimony? He will save. There is none other Name under Heaven whereby we can be so saved.

2. He will Rejoice Over You with Joy (v. 17). Yes, those who are daily being fully saved bring gladness to the Savior's heart. The Lord will not rejoice over a spoiled thing, or a marred vessel, or a professedly Christian life that is failing to fulfill His high and holy purpose. If your life is a sacrifice of joy unto the Lord you may rest assured that "He will rejoice over you." "We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:11).

3. He will Rest In His Love (v. 17). Oh, the sweetness of this thought, that our God can find rest in the greatness of His love for us: that love that never fails, and is stronger than death. He will, and does, rest in that love that gave His beloved Son to the death for us all. Rest in His love as seen in the willing sacrifice offered by His Son. Rest in the triumph of that love that brings salvation to all men. What a resting place this is for our own hearts, now and ever. Rest in His love, not in our own.

III. What We Should Do.

1. Praise His Blessed Name. "Sing, O daughter of Zion. Shout O Israel. Be glad and rejoice with all the heart" (v. 14). "Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men" (Psalm 107:15). In that day Israel will be "made a praise among all people of the earth" (v. 20). For many generations they have been a "sneer and a byword" among the nations, but their "crowning day is coming," when their King and the Church's Redeemer shall take unto Himself His right and reign over the whole earth. O Christian, be glad and rejoice with all your heart, for He has done great things for you. For he has delivered in the past, He does deliver in the present, and will yet deliver (2 Corinthians 1:10). Thanks be unto God.

2. Fear Not. "Fear you not" (v. 16). There is no place for fearfulness and uncertainty in the Economy of Divine Grace. He who planned the Heavens, and the whole scheme of man's salvation, and the movements of an atom, will not fail His own trusting children. "He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, I will not fear" (Hebrews 13:5-6).

3. Be Diligent in Service. "Let not your hands be slack" (v. 16). Slack hands are an evidence of slack hearts. Slackness in God's work is a prevailing weakness among His people. The "go slow" policy is largely practiced in the ranks of Christian workers. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it heartily as unto the Lord. Let us seek to serve our gracious Master just as if He were standing by our side looking on, and waiting to receive the finished article.