“She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.”
Zephaniah cried out against the filthy and polluted city of Jerusalem and the nation of Judah. As God’s prophet, he proclaimed the truth to a wayward people. He firmly and faithfully warned them of the judgment that awaits them. Every generation needs true servants of God who are willing to stand strong as God’s messengers, calling men and women to turn from sin and turn to the Lord. In describing their apostasy, Zephaniah describes four particular aspects of their backsliding. These words serve as a warning to us, that we might avoid similar behavior and negligence in our spiritual walk.
They were guilty of being DISOBEDIENT. Zephaniah said, “She obeyed not the voice.” Israel refused to hear and heed the voice of God through His prophets. This tendency continued as they later refused to respond to the message of John the Baptist, rejected the preaching of Christ, and contradicted the voice of the apostles. When anyone refuses to listen to God’s Word and begins to ignore His commands, he is seriously headed in the wrong direction.
They were also guilty of being STUBBORN. As the Scripture says, they “received not correction.” Because they disobeyed, God chastened them. Yet, they would not respond to His correction. God chastens us because He loves us. To refuse to humble ourselves and repent at His correction will bring sorer judgment from the Lord.
They were PRIDEFUL. “She trusted not in the LORD.” They trusted in their flesh and in their self-righteousness. They were not inclined to trust in the Lord. When Jesus came, they did not submit to Him and did not trust that He was the Messiah that would die for their sins. We must all recognize this sinful tendency to trust in the arm of the flesh and not to rely completely on the Lord.
In addition, they were INDEPENDENT. “She drew not near to her God.” Israel was willing to live with a distance between her and the Lord. We should guard against such independence in our own lives. As sheep, we are to rely upon our Shepherd and follow His direction, always drawing near to Him. Israel had strayed far from the Lord, becoming DISOBEDIENT, STUBBORN, PRIDEFUL, AND INDEPENDENT. Let’s heed Zephaniah’s warning, that the same never be true of us.