Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A 4-fold Challenge

"Ah, soiled, defiled, oppressing city!  It has listened to no voice; it has accepted no correction.  It has not trusted in the LORD; it has not drawn near to God."
(Zephaniah 3:1-2)

Jerusalem: the Holy City. Center of Jewish life.  It's about to face a reckoning, says Zephaniah.  The date is the mid-to-late 6th Century BC.  The people have wandered away from following God wholeheartedly.  Payback is coming.

As chapter 3 begins, Zephaniah scolds them for 4 specific faults:
  1. "It has listened to no voice"... The people have made no attempt to gain wisdom or insight from others...
  2. "It has accepted no correction"... It's one thing to be scolded, or told of your errors.  It's another thing to accept one's punishment and learn from one's actions.  Jerusalem has not.
  3. "It has not trusted in the LORD"... Instead, it has relied on itself and/or others than God for protection & strength.
  4. "It has not drawn near to God"... No time spent together.  No intimacy.  No eagerness to be in God's presence.
What a compelling indictment!  But not just for the city of Jerusalem some 2600 years ago.  How about for us here 7 now?  How open are we to seeking out the wisdom & insight of other "voices" in our lives?  When we mess up and fall into sin, can we take correction?  Is God the source of our trust & security?  And do we make the time to spend with God on a regular basis?  I know that I can't answer affirmatively for all those things all of the time.

PRAYER: "Forgive me, LORD.  Open my heart & life to the wisdom & correction of others.  Help me put my trust in you, ultimately... and give me the desire & discipline to draw near to you regularly.  AMEN."

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