Praying through the bible – Zephaniah and the beginning of Jeremiah

The book of Zephaniah contains a verse that became special to me many years ago. When I was a new Christian and God was sorting out the dross in my life, I would get into a bit of a flap about things. My friend Valerie felt that God was saying to me ‘Stop Flapping’ with an image of a bird being held in his hand. And Chapter 3 vs 17:

The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Like many people I find it difficult to read some of the Old Testament passages about God’s wrath and anger. We much prefer to think of his love. However, when you consider that the practices of those he was angry with include extortion, injustice and cruelty not to mention child sacrifice, then it puts a different slant on it. God isn’t angry that people are not worshipping him so much as angry that their worship of idols and following the ways of the foreigners include them not following God’s ways of justice and peace and of loving their neighbour.

When I look at the injustices and cruelty it the world I too get angry, but not as angry as God. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God made his point repeatedly in various ways. The point he was making was that his people were like a wife to him and that he loved them, but their backsliding and rejection of God were as if they were being like prostitutes or unfaithful wives.

I must admit though, having read chapters 4 – 12 this morning, that I did think it a bit repetitive. Perhaps that’s the downside of reading it all in one lump. The messages would have been given to the people in smaller chunks over a period of time. Repeatedly the people are told to come back to God and repeatedly the people do not.

When reading the verses about seeking the Ancient Paths I was reminded of my desire to come closer to God using the ancient ways of contemplation and meditation. I hope and pray that I remain faithful and that I walk in the Good Way all my life.

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