Journal Zeph 2-3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: #1 “This is the exultant city that lived securely, that said in her heart, “I am, and there is no one else.” Zeph 2:15
#2: “Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord; she does not draw near to her God.” Zeph 3:3
#3: I said, “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.” But…all the more they were eager to make all their deeds corrupt.” Zeph 3:7
#4: “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.” Zeph 3:17
Observation: 4 references. 3 references expose the heart of unredeemed Man. The 4th is the attitude of our Lord, the God of all.
Analysis: These are places where the Gospel is made clear; especially the why I need the Gospel.
#1 shows the attitude of independence from God. Those folks are identifying as God saying, “I am…” just like God said to Moses. “There is no one else BESIDES ME…” says the fool.
#2 and #3 goes on to describe a heart that is refusing to hear His ways; describing rebellion, deaf, dumb, self-absorbed…what I see all around.
Then there is #4: He is all around me (in my midst); a mighty savior. He is rejoicing, dancing, singing with gladness and joy. Loud singing, exuberant dancing over the one who was lost and now found.
The three references of Man’s predisposition are always there to be battled against. I can feel them when a racy commercial is aired on TV; sense them when the corruption is presented, and I go “what is the point of following God?” I can be consumed by my own sense of what is “my truth” and not what is the objective Word of God nor can I accept correction to that end. Rebellion and self-absorption—essentially being independent from God (just like Adam) is no stranger to any heart—even of the Redeemed.
Paul wrote: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now (not only in my presence but much more in my absence), work out your salvation in fear and trembling—for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Phil 2:12-13
Redemption as a broad subject is in two parts: God’s Sovereign choice, selection, election on one side, and, Human responsibility to pursue sanctification on the other.
When I fight the “good fight of faith’ it is not the battle from without, but the battle within.
Prayer: Lord God, I sense the enemy within, wanting to draw my eyes and my effort away from You, from seeking You, and to fill those moments with either despair or busyness.
I am suspicious of the word “balance”, but if I am to have balance let the scales of my heart tilt firmly in Your direction, O Holy Spirit.
Help those who are tilting toward despondency and despair reach out to a willing hand of a Believer in this time of the calendar.
Bring revival. AMEN