It has listened to no voice; it has accepted no correction. It has not trusted in the Lord; it has not drawn near to its God.
The Book of Zephaniah is all about judgement and deliverance, but chapter three, the context of our verse for today, concentrates on the former, revealing precious little hope of deliverance for Jerusalem.
‘Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled’ (3:1) because: ‘She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord. She does not draw near to her God’ (3:2) Not for the first or last time, the Lord says, Jerusalem was going to have trouble with her surrounding nations. The Ammonites, Moabites and others will do their worst and receive judgement for it. But the main problem God has with Jerusalem, is its own behaviour, its sin of omission. The Lord has concluded Jerusalem obeys no one, accepts no correction, does not trust in the Lord and does not draw near to God’ Not a glowing reference. No wonder judgement and trouble are ahead.
As we reflect on this prophetic word of warning for Jerusalem, it’s easy to believe that’s ‘so yesterday’ forgetting God may have a prophetic word for us today too.
Whilst we all love the assurances of deliverance: ‘The Lord God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He takes great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing’ (3:18)
We must also consider have we been obedient to God? Accepted his word of correction? Have we trusted him for all things in our lives? Let’s draw near to him in repentance and confession, so we in due time may know the assurance of his forgiveness and deliverance.
Lord thank you for your Word, that is alive and active, sharper than a double edged sword. Lord please speak your prophetic Word into my life; show me where I need correction. Help me to trust in you, draw close to you and offer you worship, worthy of your name. Amen
The Revd Sally Willett Evangelism and Renewal advocate for Gear and minister of West Thamesmead Community Church.