“Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.”
One of the greatest speeches in all of Shakespeare is the “Band of Brothers” speech from Henry V. The play is based on actual events.
Here’s the scene. It is the night before the English must wage a great battle with the French. The English Army is exhausted, hungry, and sick. The French Army is healthy, well-rested, and well-fed. In addition, the French outnumber the English by four-to-one. The body language in the English forces is clear. Their heads are down. Their shoulders slouch. Their hands are limp in despair.
But then along comes their mighty warrior-king, Henry V. To his men, he delivers such a rousing speech that, by the end, their body language has changed. Their heads are up. And their hands are no longer limp in despair. Rather, they raise their hands high. They are ready to fight the good fight. The next day, victory is theirs.
In Zephaniah chapter 3, the Word of God is speaking to the Lord’s people to a moment when their hands are hanging limp in despair. Do you ever feel that way—so haunted by your regrets that your hands feel limp, so troubled by things you cannot take back that you are dazed and paralyzed about the future?
“Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp,” God’s Word says. Then he tells us why. “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.” God has come. God the Son has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. He has defeated the forces of evil on our behalf. He has lived a life of perfect goodness in our place. He has canceled the guilt of our sin through his suffering and death on the cross.
And now he lives. Through faith in him, you and I stand forgiven. We are his, and he is our King. He stands by our side. He is mighty to save. For this reason, we can move forward. We can fight the good fight of the faith. For in Jesus, the King, all is well.
Lord Jesus, you are my King. You are by my side. Move me to march forward with you. Amen.