August 28, 2014


Zephaniah 3:2 She obeys no one,
she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
she does not draw near to her God.

This is a description of Jerusalem over 2000 years ago, but it sounds like a lot of people and societies today. The Bible often uses personification, which is speaking of something inanimate as though it were a person, and this is an example of that. However, it has long been noted that different cities seem to have different personalities. It is interesting, and sad, really, that the song, “Chicago,” sung with pride by many residents for many years now, includes the line, “They do things there they don’t do on Broadway,” implying that Chicago is more sunk in depravity than New York. Any time an individual or a group of people takes pride in defiance against God, there is real trouble coming. Saying that, of course the first thing that comes to mind is “gay pride.” That’s one of the saddest things to come along in a very long time. This verse is a very perceptive description. Where the NIV says “obeys no one,” the Japanese expresses it as “doesn’t listen when called to.” In other words, any contrary opinion is ignored. Then it says, “doesn’t accept correction.” Any parent can relate to that in terms of raising children! The fact that it’s common doesn’t make it right or profitable. Then it gets really sad, speaking of not trusting the Lord or drawing near to God. If you’re not going to trust the Lord, who loved you and gave Himself for you, (Galatians 2:20) who are you going to trust? Failure to trust God and understand that He is love itself (1 John 4:8) truly keeps us from drawing near to Him. Our sins indeed separate us from God, but God in His mercy sent His Son to open the way for us to draw near through the atoning blood of the cross. When God has done so much, it is tragic when anyone refuses to accept it and draw near to Him.

I have my own history of defiance against God, so I have no high horse from which to look down on anyone, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic when those around me act like this verse describes. I am to be consistent in speaking the truth in love, not counting on my own wisdom or persuasiveness but seeking the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I am not to take rejection personally, but understand that they are deceived by the devil and rebelling against God. I am certainly not to fear people’s rejection more than I fear their going to destruction! In other words, I am to love them enough to speak truth to them, even when that truth might be painful. I am to pray that they receive the truth and so be set free from the deceptions that have bound them, (John 8:32) for their salvation and God’s glory.

Father, thank You for Your mercy on my rebellion. Help me be an effective agent of Your mercy, Your strong love, to those around me. I see so many of whom this verse is an apt description! I ask You to open their eyes by Your Spirit to see You, see themselves, repent and believe, to join Your family as Your children indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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