Prayer: Lord God, we pray for those who don’t believe in you and don’t live in respect of your goodness and fairness. May they hear warnings to repent and return to you. Amen.
Reading: Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: My one bank card was updated to the chip standard and I noticed a big difference. When I was checking out, you had to insert the card and follow the screen’s prompts. I looked away while it was processing and was startled by the loud buzz with a prompt, “You can remove your card now.” The clerk smiled a little and said that the sound surprises a lot of people. I told her it sounded like I did something wrong. She apologized and said they can’t change the sound.
Not nearly the same volume as the church’s industrial smoke alarm, but a similar voice. Get out, get out it seems to warn. Zephaniah picks up a similar tone warning those who mock God’s ability to rule, lead and correct. The verses serve as quite an extreme listing of reasons to remove oneself from the trench of sin. Turn back, turn back! Repent, Repent! God is quite capable of punishing and rewarding! You don’t know when he is going to drop the hammer and the sound will usher a time of final judgement.
God is a loving God, but God is not a fool. God is fair and just and not a liar. Sometimes soft warnings work well, but other times a sinner needs to be startled out of a complacent slide into destruction. I much prefer words of grace and soft bells of warning, but if that doesn’t work—turn up the volume!--Andrew Fitch
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