They will receive the wages of their pride,
for they have scoffed at the people of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Although God punished his people, he is fiercely protective of them as well. Just as no one can mock God, no one can mock God’s people. This is a great statement of His love for us now, those of us who are His chosen people, his royal priesthood, his sons and daughters. God is wrathful towards those who mistreat us. He has our back!
The Lord will terrify them
as he destroys all the gods in the land.
Then nations around the world will worship the Lord,
each in their own land.
How has God destroyed the gods of the land? He shows that they are not powerful at all. There is no country today that has been made powerful because of its gods. No world power that exerts power because they are helped by a god. Indeed, the countries who have risen to power have done so by greed and ambition in the hands of a few.
God reveals, and ultimately anyone who relies on a source of power aside from him will find it revealed to be worthless.
And meanwhile, Christianity has spread to every nation, and every nation can worship God at their own location, without traveling to Jerusalem. It truly shows that the mountain of the Lord has risen to be chief among the nations. Those who rely on God are those who have the real power.
This is the boisterous city,
once so secure.
“I am the greatest!” it boasted.
“No other city can compare with me!”
But now, look how it has become an utter ruin
Those who exalted themselves were humbled. And this will always be the case. As it said in the beginning of Zeph 2, it is only by humility that someone has a hope with God. Humility is where true power lies, because it allows us to be in favor with God, and He who has the real power, in His mercy, will help us. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
But the Lord is still there in the city,
and he does no wrong.
Day by day he hands down justice,
and he does not fail.
I love this! Day by day literally means, “in the morning, in the morning.” It has also been translated, Every morning He brings His justice to light. Every morning God seeks to right the wrongs done by the those in power on the earth. Every morning God reveals what is real power, and what is not. Nations are toppled. Rulers are deposed. And when I see the sun come into the window, I can think of God working, showing arrogant leaders that they are nothing, and reciprocally, helping those who seek him. The passage reminds me of Lamentations 3, “His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”
And God “does not fail” in applying justice. There is nothing lacking. Anyone who sets themselves up as a power without God will ultimately fall. The prideful will always be deposed. But the humble will endure for eternity.
Ken and I were discussing the Arab Spring this morning, and the desire throughout the Middle East for social justice. Power is in the hands of a few, but it is always changing. One ruler or party will hold power for a few years, and then another will. And whoever is in power oppresses the masses. And the masses are rising up and fighting for justice. I was reading about Egypt for my class on foreign policy, and the reading said that one of the main ways the U.S. can help is to show the people of Egypt that we want to help them achieve social justice. People long for action to be taken to bring equity.
The U.S. tries to help, and often they muddle things up when they do, but God is constantly addressing injustices. That is his nature. He certainly addresses injustices against his people, but he cares about injustice everywhere. And He expects us to act as he does. “Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done–burn with no one to quench it.” (Jer 21:12) We should be as vigilant as Christ, who opened the scrolls to the passage about breaking the chains and setting the captives free.
And so will I sit back when people are harassed and helpless, led astray by false shepherds? Will I be ignorant about the people in other countries, separated from me by an ocean, who are physically oppressed? May I have the heart to hand out justice, day by day.
All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. (Jude 1:25)