Zephaniah calls out the sin of God’s people very clearly – they simply do not listen. “She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord; she does not draw near to her God”. Stubborn and unwilling to submit to God’s authority, Zephaniah repeats these four phrases and tells us the root of Jerusalem’s sin:
- God called to His people, but they did not listen.
- Correction certainly came, but she did not receive it as correction from the Lord.
- God never gave her a reason to stop trusting in Him; He never proved Himself unfaithful or untrustworthy. Now God’s people will openly deny and contradict God’s word and promises.
- The worst offense is saved for last. God longs for relationship with His people, but they rejected His desire and went their own way.
God makes it clear that His people won’t be allowed to go on their merry way and ignore Him. “Surely you will fear me; you will accept correction. Then your dwelling would not be cut off according to all that I have appointed against you”. And as is often the case, God will do what He needs to in order to get their attention. I’ve had a number of 2X4 moments in my life, where God does something in order to gain my attention. He’s going to do that to His people, and will cause them to know that He is God.
God has a plan for His people who will be the center of a coming nation. “But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord”. Even as God’s chosen people though, they will understand that they are under His power and protection. They will be under the leadership of the Lord Jesus and His redeemed and they will know that their standing is because of His extravagant grace. God continues to show that He is in the redemption business, and even when His people have chosen to walk away from Him and been punished as a result, He always is ready to welcome them, and us back.
We often underestimate the joy God has in His people, and too often think God is annoyed and frustrated with us. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing”. He is not only able to save us, He takes great joy in doing it. All that is required is that we repent and believe and come running back to Him. He can’t turn loose His lavish love for us if we don’t make the first step. He wants to sing about our return and restoration!