The LORD has taken away your punishment, He has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. Zephaniah 3:15
People do strange things when they fear punishment. A child may commit some small offense but because he fears an imagined punishment, he doesn’t go to Mom or Dad to confess; instead he tries to cover it up or keep it secret. The loving parent understands that such situations are often opportunities to teach the child and there may be little, if any, punishment. However, if the offense is covered up and continues, not only does any repair or clean-up become more difficult with time, but the offense often multiples as every opportunity to repent passes by.
In this way, Adam and Eve acted like children when they first disobeyed God. They knew the punishment for disobeying God was death and, because they feared death, they tried running away from their Lord who loved them and would save them. God gave Adam and Eve the same message He spoke later through Zephaniah: The Lord has taken away your punishment. He has defeated your enemy, the devil. The Lord is with you and you need never fear any harm.
Advent is about the coming of the Lord. We eagerly look forward to His coming and confess our sins, trusting that Jesus has taken away all our punishment. We need not fear any harm.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). According to Your will, enable me to share the gift of Your salvation with those I meet so that they to will know Your saving grace. Amen.
© 2006 Lutheran Hour Ministries
These devotions have been written by Rev. Paul and Kaye Wolff. Rev. Paul Wolff is a 1996 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He has served as a pastor in the Detroit area for 10 years. He and co-author wife, Kaye, live in Southfield, Michigan.
Kaye Dumas Wolff is Chairperson of the Black Ministry Church Planting Task Force and a Mission Affiliate of LCMS World Missions where she serves as a training facilitator for laity in evangelism and mission work. Kaye serves on the Advisory Council of the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and she is a presenter for Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Equipping to Share Workshop.
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