Advent 3 - Year C
The word of a prophet moves from damning to joy. One tendency is to separate these into two different states - G*D's disappointment and punishment; G*D's satisfaction and renewal. Another way to approach this is to note that both are present in every present. This competition seems to be within G*D as well as between G*D and creation/creatures.
For this moment, though, presume that you have an equal choice between organizing your time, energy, and resources toward not being condemned or being cared for.
To begin, can you imagine them being equally balanced so it is your choice as to which you will live out of? Which do you think/feel will bring the biggest bang for your investment of time, energy, and resources? Then, go that way.
I expect that most of us don't experience these as equal choices. Our predilection is to try to figure out methods to escape a wrath to come or to blithely follow our bliss. Whether these biases come from nature or nurture, there seems to be a leaning one way or the other. It is too easy to name this pessimism or optimism as the distinction probably runs back into the temptations of the gods or G*D to wrestle with disappointment and satisfaction, punishment and renewal.
Since this is football season, I can remember back to when many players were both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. I, myself, played end both ways. These days it is exceptional to find someone able to play both offense and defense. So, if G*D's disappointment and punishment are what energize you to live better, stay on the defensive side of the ball, protecting your goal. If G*D's satisfaction and renewal are what energize you, stay on the offensive team, pushing toward your goal. (Yes, "goal" here is the same line.)
At this point in Zephaniah's report, we are encouraged to consider going on the offensive and see what that means for our time, energy, and resources, even in the midst of all the potential disappointments floating around and ready to engage us. See, G*D is for you; who and what are you for?