The prophecy of Zephaniah reveals God’s faithfulness to God’s people. The prophet had predicted the coming wrath of God upon the people because of their sin. But Zephaniah ends the dire warnings which precede today’s reading with great promise for the future, a time when God will rule in the midst of the people. Soon after, there was a national revival under King Josiah. Judah had lived wickedly for more years under King Manasseh and King Amon, so Zephaniah urges the people to repent. The nation is filled with idolatry, selfishness, and immorality.

The sins that were found in Judah at the time of Zephaniah’s prophecy are the same ones that tempt us today: disobeying God, resisting correction, failing to trust in God, or simply not having any desire to learn about God. Many today still neither seek God’s blessing nor fear God’s wrath. But if we do not care about the things of God, or if we believe that we can continue in sin without consequences, we are headed for judgment.

Even though there is judgment for sin, however, God is faithful to each person who turns to Jesus Christ in faith. In Jesus, God has taken away our judgment and cast out our enemy. God is able to save, protect, and bless. We are able to rejoice by being in Jesus Christ, who can bring us the same restoration as God did for Judah. The presence of Christ is the symbol of hope, love of God, joy, and peace to the world because whoever believes in him will be saved.

This Advent season provides an opportunity for each of us to prepare our hearts and repent of our sins. God is faithful, and we need not fear. There is no more punishment for those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Rejoice then! In Christ we have eternal life!

Lord, thank you for sending Jesus Christ for my salvation and for the salvation of all who repent. Give me joy and peace in my heart today. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 3:7-18

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Lectionary Week
December 6–12, 2021
Scripture Overview

Reviewing the scripture passages for this week, the hymn title “Rejoice, Give Thanks and Sing” might come to mind. The writers of this week’s texts advise us to do all these things. At this time of year, these responses often seem to come naturally for many of us. The prophet Zephaniah exhorts his audience to sing aloud and rejoice. The prophet Isaiah calls on the people of Judah to “give thanks to the Lord.” In the letter to the Philippians, Paul advises his audience to “rejoice in the Lord always.” The tone of the Luke passage for this week is more somber; through the words of John the Baptist, Luke challenges his audience to maintain right relationships with God and humanity. Taken together, these passages provide a number of life lessons.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Zephaniah 3:14-20. Recall a time when you have experienced joy in the midst of trouble. Give thanks to God for your joy.
Read Isaiah 12:2-6. How does your trust in God enable you to overcome fear?
Read Philippians 4:4-7. Are you able to release your worries to God when you pray, or do you tend to hold on to the worry even after you have prayed about it?
Read Luke 3:7-18. Where in your life are you being nudged to do the right thing? How will you respond?

Respond by posting a prayer.