Sermons

Summary: A consideration of God's best gifts and our response to His goodness. Weighing society's response and what our response to God should be.

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“Praise the LORD!

Praise, O servants of the LORD,

praise the name of the LORD!

“Blessed be the name of the LORD

from this time forth and forevermore!

From the rising of the sun to its setting,

the name of the LORD is to be praised!

“LORD is high above all nations,

and his glory above the heavens!

Who is like the LORD our God,

who is seated on high,

who looks far down

on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust

and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

to make them sit with princes,

with the princes of his people.

He gives the barren woman a home,

making her the joyous mother of children.

Praise the LORD!” [1]

In our Tuesday evening Bible study, we have spent time in the Minor Prophets during these spring months. We just completed a review of Micah and we are now focused on Zephaniah. As I prepare these studies, I am astounded at how quickly God moved when He judged His people. He gave multiplied warnings that the people must not presume against grace. As you know, they did presume against grace and suddenly God would do what He had warned He would do if they did not repent.

When judgement comes, I find myself weeping at the thoroughness of God’s judgement. As I read the history of the nation leading up to judgement, I find myself marvelling at how obtuse the people were, how callused they became because judgement didn’t come on their schedule, how arrogant the nation became because they depended on their history. I find myself wanting to yell out a warning, knowing that it is too late.

As I read Zephaniah this past week, reviewing the history of the nation when God finally said, “Enough,” I could barely catch my breath. I read again contemporary accounts of the sack of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. Remembering Jeremiah’s Lament, “We have sinned” [LAMENTATIONS 3:42 HCSB], I grieve with the God’s warning concerning what is coming that was delivered by the mouth of Zephaniah:

“I will bring distress on mankind,

so that they shall walk like the blind,

because they have sinned against the LORD.”

[ZEPHANIAH 1:17]

Paul would say to the Corinthian Christians, “[The events recorded in the Old Covenant] took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” [1 CORINTHIANS 10:6-11].

I understand that a message that begins by speaking of judgement seems a strange message to deliver on a day set aside to honour mothers. I realise that modern Christians do not enjoy being confronted with sinful behaviour, even when the behaviour is witnessed as a part of contemporary culture. Neither do we appreciate being made to feel uncomfortable through receiving warnings concerning divine judgement. Nevertheless, there is a message that needs to be declared; it is needed more today than at any point in the history of our nation. Undoubtedly, Mothers’ Day will continue to be observed for the foreseeable future. So long as children continue to be born there will be an observance in which fathers teach their children to honour their mothers; there will always be children who hold their mothers in esteem. I am concerned, however, that there may well be drastic changes in the observance we know as Mother’s Day.


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