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Re-imaging God

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The Lord your God is in your midst, a Victorious Warrior, (Zephaniah 3:17).

Stop for a moment and form an image of God in your mind. When you think about God, what comes to mind? That image will shape your spiritual experience, and to a great degree, your life. I have been pondering my own image of God the last few days. I’m convinced it is inadequate.

Zephaniah is one of the more obscure minor prophets. He was a contempory of Jeremiah and the great-grandson of King Hezekiah. The overall message of his prophecy was one of Israel's coming judgment. It is entirely possible that he witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. But he also gave a message of hope about a day when Israel would be restored. His image of God was central to his message.

Zephaniah saw God as a warrior. I like the New American Standard translation of the verse where we are told God is a “victorious warrior”. I also like the New International Version translation which uses the expression “Mighty Warrior” to translate the Hebrew.

God is a warrior. The Ancient of Days is not a decrepit old man shuffling around heaven with a cane and stooped shoulders. He is a white-haired warrior. Jesus in no longer the suffering servant, often wrongly portrayed as pale and fragile. Revelation reveals him as a white-haired warrior. However we imagine the Holy Spirit, we are probably wrong and have an inadequate conception of him. He has no hair, but he is also a Mighty Warrior.

God is a warrior. Imagine him that way today. And remember what else Zephaniah says about him in this text: he is in your midst! He is with us. We have a victorious warrior as our heavenly father…and he wins!

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