Some Christians walk straight toward spiritual paralysis. It’s never something we choose. No one consciously opts for stagnation and impairment. But there is a path down which disaster awaits. What could cause this sort of malady and wreak this havoc on a soul?
Such a devastating debility is often caused by hearing the voice of God in His word but then disobeying Him. It’s like looking Him straight in the face through Scripture but choosing to ignore Him. It is to be confronted with truth from your Creator and to claim, as His creature, to know better.
In the prophet Zephaniah’s day, the Spirit of God confronted the people of God with “woe”—with a warning of captivity and bondage. The “oppressing city” was Jerusalem itself—the city of God’s people. What was true for Jerusalem in a physical sense will be true of us in a spiritual sense if we refuse to listen to the voice of God and accept no correction from Him. There can be no blessing, no life, and no vitality where His word is neglected or disobeyed.
It is wise, then, to ask ourselves some difficult questions, rather than assuming that these kinds of warnings are only for others. Has God been speaking to you about a sinful habit in your life that you’ve decided you will hold on to and not break? Has He been speaking to you about a holy habit that you should establish, and you know that you should but you never actually do so? Has He been speaking to you about an apology that needs to be made, but in your pride you are avoiding doing this? Has He been speaking to you about a reconciliation that needs to take place with a loved one in your physical family or in the family of God?
Thankfully, God always receives His children with open arms when we turn to Him and heed His voice again. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”—all on account of Christ (1 John 1:9). When we are humble enough to listen to His voice and put our trust in Him, then we enjoy the experience of nearness to God once more. How is the Spirit prompting you as you read this passage today? There’s no better time than now to step off the path to spiritual paralysis and find grace in the arms of your Savior.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Judgment on Jerusalem and the Nations
1Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled,
the oppressing city!
2She listens to no voice;
she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord;
she does not draw near to her God.
3Her officials within her
are roaring lions;
her judges are evening wolves
that leave nothing till the morning.
4Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men;
her priests profane what is holy;
they do violence to the law.
5The Lord within her is righteous;
he does no injustice;
every morning he shows forth his justice;
each dawn he does not fail;
but the unjust knows no shame.
6“I have cut off nations;
their battlements are in ruins;
I have laid waste their streets
so that no one walks in them;
their cities have been made desolate,
without a man, without an inhabitant.
7I said, ‘Surely you will fear me;
you will accept correction.
Then your1 dwelling would not be cut off
according to all that I have appointed against you.’2
But all the more they were eager
to make all their deeds corrupt.
8“Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord,
“for the day when I rise up to seize the prey.
For my decision is to gather nations,
to assemble kingdoms,
to pour out upon them my indignation,
all my burning anger;
for in the fire of my jealousy
all the earth shall be consumed.
The Conversion of the Nations
9“For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples
to a pure speech,
that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord
and serve him with one accord.
10From beyond the rivers of Cush
my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones,
shall bring my offering.
11“On that day you shall not be put to shame
because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me;
for then I will remove from your midst
your proudly exultant ones,
and you shall no longer be haughty
in my holy mountain.
12But I will leave in your midst
a people humble and lowly.
They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord,
13those who are left in Israel;
they shall do no injustice
and speak no lies,
nor shall there be found in their mouth
a deceitful tongue.
For they shall graze and lie down,
and none shall make them afraid.”
Israel's Joy and Restoration
14Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
16On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
17The 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.
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