Wednesday after Judica
Scripture: Zephaniah 3:1-8 (NKJV)
3:1 Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, to the oppressing city!
2 She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; She has not trusted in the Lord, she has not drawn near to her God.
3 Her princes in her midst are roaring lions; Her judges are evening wolves that leave not a bone till morning.
4 Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people; Her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.
5 The Lord is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails, but the unjust knows no shame.
6 “I have cut off nations, their fortresses are devastated; I have made their streets desolate, with none passing by. Their cities are destroyed; There is no one, no inhabitant.
7 I said, ‘Surely you will fear Me, you will receive instruction’—so that her dwelling would not be cut off, despite everything for which I punished her. But they rose early and corrupted all their deeds.
8 “Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord, “Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them My indignation, all My fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.
“Judge me, O God”?
“Woe to her…she has not obeyed His voice…not received correction…not trusted in the Lord…not drawn near to her God.” How often the outward appearance of the Church disappoints! It is glorious neither by the standards of the world, nor by the Law of God.
Cisterns are built that don’t hold water, and the Fountain of Living Water is deemed “not enough” (Jer.2:11-13). Rules for holy living and gimmicks for filling church pews (or auditorium seats) abound. The poor-looking things that “don’t make good common sense”—pouring a bit of water, small tastes of bread and wine—are tossed aside for more appealing things, as if the Sacraments were neither commanded in God’s Word nor had His promise attached to them.
Those who downplay the command and promise of the Sacraments might just as well deny them; such teachers are far more dangerous than those who do. They give lip service to the Gospel and Sacraments. By refusing to adorn worship appropriately in the liturgy, or by trivializing the Sacraments in giving the body and blood of Jesus to those “who know not what they seek or why they come” (Large Catechism, Lord’s Supper, 2), or who are not “agreed with one another in the doctrine and all its articles” (Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, X:31), they set Christ’s lambs at risk. They substitute human inventions for the means through which God brings us near and causes us to trust, thus keeping us from receiving correction and forgiveness for not hearkening to His voice.
We pray: Grant, Lord, that we do no violence to Your Law, but, seeing its severity, hasten to You for instruction in the Gospel of Christ—and the sacramental application of the same! Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.