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The minor prophet Zephaniah teaches us that God will purify and restore anyone who turns to Him

It was a heartwarming moment in the newly released, much-anticipated movie, "Avengers Endgame."

Tony Stark, aka Ironman, is putting his little girl to bed. He says, "I love you a ton." In an effort to top his pledge of affection, 5-year-old Morgan says, "I love you 3,000."

A ton is 2,000, so effectively, if there was any competition, she won. That's not the only place "I love you 3,000" appears in the movie. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it yet, just make sure to bring plenty of tissues, I've never cried this much watching a superhero movie before!

As I reflect on this picture of father/daughter love, I am reminded of another statement of big love: Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) "For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."

Zephaniah was a minor prophet to the nation of Judah during the reign of King Josiah several hundred years before Christ. King Josiah had made a great attempt to pull the affection of his people away from the worship of idols back to the worship of the one true God. His efforts were in vain.

Then, in steps Zephaniah, a minor prophet with a major message. He was giving warning to Judah of God's judgment that will come if they do not show sorrow for their sins and return to God.

Chapter 3 of this short book reveals a change in tone from a stern warning of impending judgment to a message of hope and how God will purify and restore anyone who turns to Him. In verse 17, there is this "I love you 3,000" proclamation, God pursuing a people whose hearts were far from Him. That's the way His love is.

Romans 5:8 says, "God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."

I believe this message of amazing love is for us today as well. It's an invitation to turn to Him and trust Him.

Here's Zephaniah 3:17 in my own words:

God says:

I am with you. We can be assured of His presence no matter where we go, there is such peace in that thought, (see also Matthew 28:20).

I will save you. No matter the sin, we can look to Jesus Christ who opens the door to a whole new life, (see also Psalm 86, John 12:44-50).

I am delighted with you. God delights in those who get to know Him, (see also Jeremiah 9:24).

I calm your fears with my love. God gives you a perfect love that destroys fear, (see also I John 4:18).

I sing over you. God loves to put His love for you on display for others to see, (see also Song of Solomon 2:4).

I invite you today as Zephaniah invited the nation of Judah, to take in this love from Heaven that certainly goes beyond a "love 3,000."

God's love for you is limitless. Turn to Him, trust Him, and be filled with His love today.

Brian Carmack serves as Lead Pastor at Eastside Church in Prineville, Oregon and can be reached by email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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