20 “At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the LORD.
The Story: Yahweh continues to speak of the gathering and restoration of His people “at that time” (cf. v. 19). They will become “renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth” when Yahweh “restores [their] fortunes.” The preliminary fulfillment of this prophecy took place at the return to Jerusalem after seventy years in exile. Zephaniah was a prophet preparing the Jews for that judgment with a message of blessing beyond exile. But just as the historical Day of the Lord that took them into exile anticipated a greater Day of the Lord at the end of history, so their restoration to the land anticipates a greater blessing yet to come. After all, the promise to Abraham was that he and his seed would be “heir of the world” (Greek = cosmos; Romans 4:13). The Day of the Lord at Christ’s return will usher in a new heavens and a new earth. When the cosmos is renewed, “the meek … shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). This ultimate hope of Abraham is the hope of all who share His faith. Paradise lost at the fall will be restored at Christ’s return, and all who are His can look forward to “that time” in confident faith. This prophetic book that spoke of cosmic judgment (1:2ff.) ends by pointing to cosmic renewal. Such is the hope of all who trust in the Lord.
The Structure: The language of “all the earth” (v. 19) and “all the peoples of the earth” (v. 20) lead us to look to a fulfillment of this prophecy beyond the return of the Jews from exile in 536 B.C. God’s dealings with Israel always had in view the blessing of all the world through them (Genesis 12:3). That blessing comes to fruition through the first and second comings of Christ. We have great cause to look forward expectantly to the Day of the Lord.
On this Lord’s Day, contemplate the cosmic renewal that will be initiated on the Day of the Lord when Jesus comes again. Worship with joy that this blessed eternal hope is yours in Christ.
For more insight to the prophet Micah, order the book, The Minor Prophets, Vol. 2: Micah-Malachi, by James Montgomery Boice, from our online store.
The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.