Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What's the Lord going to do? Anything?

I don't remember exactly where or when it was (except it was over 20 years ago), but a preacher was encouraging us to read and understand the entire Bible. Imagine getting to heaven, he said, and meeting, say, Haggai:
"How did you like my book?" he might ask.

"Huh? What book?" you say. Imagine your embarrassment!

"You did read the Bible when you were down there on earth, didn't you?" You might feel sheepish -- a feeling that only gets worse when Haggai says, "Hey Zephaniah -- come here and meet this guy!"
Well, OK, so I have read Zephaniah's book and Haggai's, too. I don't remember much about Zephaniah's book except this one verse I memorized some time ago:
At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps
and punish those who are complacent,
who are like wine left on its dregs,
who think, “ the Lord will do nothing,
either good or bad.”

Zephaniah 1.12
So why did I memorize that particular verse? Well. Though I believe God is there, and that he hears and knows and cares, I often don't feel confident that he will take action in a given circumstance.

A possible endpoint for that kind of thinking is the feeling that the Lord won't do anything (good or bad) -- to be like those complacent people who are like wine left on its dregs (what a picture!)

Suppose for a moment that I wanted to end up like that -- complacent, sure that God won't do anything. What would I do today? Well, one thing would be to obsess over the news. Then I wouldn't ever pray. I'd ignore the Bible -- until Sunday. I'd have a couple more beers and watch TV.

OK, now, back to reality. Now there's nothing wrong with a beer or a little TV. But if I don't want to end up like the ding-a-lings the Lord will punish, then I don't want to do too much of any of those distractions. Watch or hear the news, sure, but don't obsess. Pray. Read and practice the Bible. And so on.

The choice is ours: to be like wine left on its dregs? Or to have a spring of living waters bubbling up from within? No points for guessing the better way to be.

And may the Lord help us to do so!

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