Scripture: Zephaniah 3:14-20
The end is near! With all the talk of the Mayan calander, polar shifts, climate change, and zombies we may just start believing that the end is near. With all that being said you might be right the world as we know it is ending and something totally new is emerging before us.
I find this fascinating. Sure there might be challenges, but when have challenges been absent in life? Our culture is on the verge of a reset. I find this as a remarkable opportunity, because it gives us a chance to rebuild again. Is this not what our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have been praying for revival?
Revival has a very dark side to it, that most of us seem to forget about. If anyone has ever watched a tv medical drama you know what happened just prior to revival…someone died or at least was very lose to death. Then everyone hurriedly began working, they pumped the chest, they put a breathing bag over the patient’s mouth, then someone yells CLEAR! At this point everyone jumps back and a charge of electricity pulses through the body. And since I’m discribing a medical drama on tv the patient revives and lives happily ever after.
Revival does not happen in the living. Why should it they are alive already, it happens when the living cease to be living and something dramatic happens to raise the dead. This is what is being talked about in the scripture reading today. Shout aloud. Zion, O Israel! Rejoice! You were dead and now the Kingdom of God has come, it is in your midst! The Lord is taking away th judgement and you will be renewed. I don’t know about you but that sounds like an electrifying jolt!
What is this kingdom that Zephaniah is speaking about? I am sure that asa nation they are thinking about the golden years of Israel under King David. The years of plenty and of rightiousness, and of Solomon where the temple of God was raised and the glory and power of God was seen thoughout the land. But even that has a flip side the golden years of Israel lead to the divided kingdom, mainly because people failed to recognize what was really important to God and his kingdom. Eventually the prophet emerged and said that mercy is what God wants more than sacrifice…mercy.
If you were to really look at the laws of God you would see that the vast majority deal with honoring Him and honoring others. Even the dietary laws are dealing more with honoring others and yoursel than anything else. So honoring or respecting God and others is the main point of God’s kingdom. That is what people in Zephaniah’s day is getting excited about. They knew their history and how they failed to honor and love now they get a new opportunity to try again.
This was the main focus of Jesus’ ministry as well. If the Gospel was only about the substitutionary attonement for sin then why would the writters of the Gospels care about telling us of the healings, wedding parties, and feasts? These things have very little to do redemption or forgivness of sins. To be honest they have more to do with restoring life today than they have to do with eternal rewards.
Which brings us back to the continuous threats to th world as we know it. Yes I do believe that the end is near…I also believe just as if not more strongly that the beginning is near. I think we are on the verge of a time where followers of God can once again refocus their lives and ministries on the things that matter, the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Instead of living in fear of the closing of an age maybe we should honor those people in our past that were able to preach the gospel to their generation, by listening to that message and live it in ours.
Am writing today after spending much of the day in prayer. I was also listening to a book by Donald Miller, Through the Painted Deserts, in this book Don and I seem to b thinking similarly. We see that something about the way life was isn’t exactly the way live will be. In other books Don speaks about a radically different type of Christianity. Not that it is a new type, just different than we have been exposed to. A type of Christianity focused on mercy not just religious observances. A religion based on relationships and mission than legalism.
There are groups already involved in these missional ministries. There is something different about our relationship with God when our service to God moves out of the sanctuaries and into the streets, not to preach on the corners but to feed the people with both manna for today and for the life to come.
So as you pray for revival and escape from the coming zombie epidemic, let’s remember that both of those events stem from us bringing life into our comnumity. So pray for tht you will be open to the kingdom to come on earth, in you, as it is in heaven.