I was asked to write an entry in our church's annual Advent devotional book. Here goes....I think my entry is December 13th.
Zephaniah 3:16-17 (New Revised Standard Version)
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
I received this devotional verse on November 4th, the day after Barack Obama was elected the next President. I learned that Zephaniah taught and prophesied at the same time as Jeremiah, about 30 years before The Jews were taken into the Babylonian captivity. His message was not good, destruction, slavery and persecution awaited them. But he included how The Lord would once again rescue them. This verse viewed from our current position is so significant. We have been reconciled with Jews into the Family of God through our faith in Christ. We can take part in all His riches, promises and blessings– we are no longer outsiders. How wonderful that is on its own – but in light of what we as a nation are facing, it is even more timely.
You see – I no longer live in the States – it has made what has gone on since June 16th even more acute in my heart. Hurricane Ike, The Housing/Financial Crisis and now a New President I didn’t vote for could have me in a state of panic. My family has endured it and I have not been there to share the load. Strangely though it has made me love my country more. I am so proud to be American and my heart just bursts with praise for my God who tells me to have no fear, He is with me! He is fighting for me, rejoicing with me in my victories. He is renewing my spirit and mind - He is actually singing to me, for me and about me! I serve a living, breathing, powerful God. So powerful, He not only created the universe, He became human just to prove how much He is with me, and with you.
So I have hope. It doesn’t matter what happens in the next 4 years because I know The Lord is sovereign and I know He is working this for our good. Not all of us may see it right now, but you as a Christian must believe it. Hold onto it with everything you have. Just as Zephaniah told a people not yet in captivity – he tells us nearly 2600 years later that Our Lord is right here with us; fighting for us; singing over us; holding us up with His love. And we will celebrate that proof in just a few weeks on Christmas Morning!
Blessed, Holy Father – I am so humble and thankful that You saw fit to show us what you have for us in Your Word. Even more than 2000 years before our nation existed, you promised us you would be close. I thank you for loving us enough to fight for your people. I pray for myself, in this season of Advent, to have the courage to claim Your victory and to sing Your Praises. Give me the strength to walk with you daily and in each situation, return the love You have shown me. It is in Christ’s precious name I pray, Amen.