I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly.
They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD –
the remnant of Israel;
they shall do no wrong and utter no lies,
nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths.
Then they will pasture and lie down,
and no one shall make them afraid. (Zeph. 3:12-13)
There’s a feel of the first chapter of Luke here – with Zechariah’s and Mary’s songs celebrating the faithfulness of God in his turning things upside down – placing the humble and lowly at the top of his new society.
It comes in the midst of sweeping prophecies of judgement, and prepares the way for the prophecy of a Messiah in 3:15-18. This was always part of the setting in which Jesus would come, though many would come to love and anticipate the prophecies of a king and a warrior without the preliminary of the lifting up of the lowly and the humble.
Reading this in the light of our knowledge of Jesus helps me to fit these two sides together – and also reminds me to look for the work of God’s Spirit among the lowly and humble today.