“I will completely sweep away everything from the face of the earth — this is the Lord’s declaration.” — Zephaniah 1:2 (CSB – Read the chapter)
So often, when people think about the prophets, they imagine a bunch of bearded, angry men who sit around condemning everyone and warning all who will listen that God is going to destroy everything in judgment. And as we have been on this journey through the prophets over the last few months, we have mostly discovered this image isn’t at all true. There has certainly been the promise of judgment, but there has been a whole lot more than that. As we come to Zephaniah, though, all that seems to fly out the window. Let’s talk about it.
What are we supposed to do with all the time we have on our hands now? Perhaps you don’t feel that tension during the day if your household is like ours and you’re trying to both work full-time and do school for your kids, but as the busyness of the day ends and the weekends arrive, it may make itself known. In a day when many people are wondering what we’re supposed to be doing, here are some answers to that tough question.
Reverend Jonathan Waits Sermon: Redeeming Your Time (2 Peter 3:14-17) Date: April 5, 2020
So, are you bored yet? As I occasionally scroll through my Facebook feed, I see post after post of people asking to be entertained. We are living in an interesting time. For a society that is as digitally fed as ours is, we are collectively learning that you can only stream so much content before you’ve had enough. The other day my boys watched a show in the morning, and then entirely of their own accord turned the TV off and went outside to play for pretty much the rest of the morning. All by themselves. I didn’t have to tell them to go at all. I wondered for just a bit if someone had replaced all my children with doppelgangers. Our culture is collectively rediscovering that there is a whole world outdoors that reflects God’s beauty and is worth exploring to its fullest. We are reconnecting on walks in ways we haven’t done in some time. I wonder sometimes if our reaction once things get back to whatever normal is going to be on the other side of this will be to overload on busyness to make up for the lack we have enjoyed, or to realize just how busy we were in comparison with how we have been and opt for a slower pace all on our own. Then again, perhaps not, but maybe. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that these are interesting times and not necessarily in a good way.
This week, in part four of our series, I Do, we dealt with one of the dirtiest words in our culture. Want to know what it is? Submission. The idea of one person submitting themselves to another is anathema in the mind of the culture. And yet, when guys like Paul and Peter talked about marriage in their New Testament letters, they consistently used the word. That means we need to figure out what kind of a role it is supposed to have. Keep reading and wrestle with me with what this should look like.
My boys enjoy Legos. A lot. In addition to having two of them on Lego Robotics teams at school, I think we are on a good approach for having every Lego set known to man before they graduate from high school. Over the years of accumulating various cool sets, though, some have gotten disassembled after being played with for a while. On occasion, they’ll want to play with a set from the past they know now resides in pieces in the playroom. Fortunately, the Lego website has the instructions and parts list for pretty much every set they’ve ever produced available to download. It’s just a simple matter of printing out the parts list, finding the right pieces, and then pulling up the instructions on some kind of a computer so they can rebuild it. Simple, right?
“As a result, I have begun to strike you severely, bringing desolation because of your sins.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
When I was in college, I read a book that had a profound impact on my views on sin and grace. Of the two, it had the most transformative impact on my thinking about sin. It wasn’t simply that the ideas the author expressed were so profound (although they certainly were), it was that the way he presented them was so compelling. He used imagery that I can still call to mind in detail all these years later. The basic premise was this: Most of the way we think about sin ranges from silly to wrong, and if we don’t think about sin rightly, we won’t be able to understand just how amazing grace really is. I think what we see here in Micah helps to reinforce this important truth.
“Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” — Micah 6:8 (CSB – Read the chapter)
So, yesterday we talked about the sarcastic response the people had to God’s case against them. God’s case was that they had left Him without cause. Their response was to sarcastically ask what He wanted from them? Bowed knees? A sacrifice? A thousand sacrifices? Their own children sacrificed? What would make Him happy? From there we talked about the fact that we sometimes feel similarly in our own lives. What does God want from us? What is it we can do that will make Him happy? Today, we get an answer.