Zephaniah 2:8-3:202 Chronicles 35:20-272 Kings 23:29-30Jeremiah 47:1-48:47Zephaniah 3:19-20, “‘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. 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.”
Marathon runners experience a multitude of emotions during a race. With the feeling of excitement at the beginning and exhilaration at the end, most competitors also endure fatigue, pain, discomfort, and the temptation to quit. As the mile markers hit double-digits and continue to climb, however, hope sets in because the end is drawing near with the promise of cheers, a reward, a sense of accomplishment — and the treasured moment to sit and relax!The Israelites had fallen into sin and were now dealing with the consequences of God’s judgment. But those who placed their faith in God always had a reason for hope. Despite the foreign oppression they faced, the shame of exile, and being forced to adapt to a completely different culture’s customs, they trusted in God’s promise of future restoration and reward.As Christ-followers, God never promised us complete comfort or a trouble-free existence on earth. And as we run this marathon called life, we’ll inevitably struggle at different legs of the race. But, through Christ, we have the future hope of heaven. When we cross the finish line, we will meet our Savior face-to-face as we gather with other believers in a home like none other, in absolute paradise. Doesn’t it give you goosebumps to just think about the joy we will experience at that time and forevermore?!
Thank You, God, for salvation through Jesus Christ. My hope is not in material things, and my home is not here on Earth. As I go through this day, help me remember that my hope is in You, and my home is in heaven. I want to live my life as a testament to Your goodness and grace! Amen.