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Journey to Bethlehem, Our Christmas Devotional Day 15 Zephaniah 3:14-17

Sunday, December 16

Zephaniah 3:14-17

14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
    shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
    O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
    he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
    you shall never again fear evil.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
    let not your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

“You can’t handle the truth” is a famous line from the movie, A Few Good Men.

Truth can be hard, even devastating. Truth can shatter our illusions. The Bible is filled with truth, God’s truth. Can we handle it? 

How about the wrath of God? Can you imagine that God’s wrath might have anything to do with you? It does. 

This is God’s world. He made it, he cares about it and he pays very close attention to it. A sparrow falls to the ground. God knows. A hair falls from our scalp. God knows. 

As creator, God defines how life is to be lived in his world. Any thought, word or deed that is contrary to God’s design is unacceptable. Why? Because anything that contradicts God’s will, damages God’s world. We might not recognize it. God does. And when God’s design for his world is violated, God’s wrath ensues.

Wrath is God’s righteous response toward anyone who would bring harm to God’s world. Just as God is good to those who trust and obey him, God is terrible to those who those who do not.

Modern people tend to discount or ignore God’s wrath. They do so at their own peril. In his book, The Attributes of God, A.W. Pink points out, “There are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness.” In an earlier time, people knew this and were governed accordingly.

Therefore, whenever God’s judgement and wrath was averted (as in today’s reading), joy ensued.  This is why gospel of Christ is good news. Jesus suffered the wrath that we rightly deserve. Thank you, Jesus.

Until you understand the truth of God’s wrath, you cannot understand the truth of Jesus’s love. 

Lord, help us handle the truth. Amen