to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
October 02, 2019 – Wednesday
Zephaniah 3:1-5 NIV
1 Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled!
2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God.
3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning.
4 Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.
5 The Lord within her is righteous; He does no wrong.
Morning by morning He dispenses His justice, and every new day He does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.
The she or her in the verses above refer directly to the city of Jerusalem and her inhabitants. Those getting special attention are Jerusalem’s officials (roaring lions), rulers (evening wolves), prophets (unprincipled and treacherous), and priests (profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law).
Then we return to verse two where She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. This may be written in the following pointed and poetic form
She has not obeyed His voice,
She has not received His correction;
She has not trusted in the LORD,
She has not drawn near to her God.
What makes this so appealing is how we can see this applying not only to Jerusalem, but to individuals one at a time just as we can see it as applying to us individually. Think of the times God has spoken to us through His word or other believers and we did not listen and because we did not listen we did not obey. Then think of the times God has sent corrections our way and we ignored them looking at them as simply difficult times we had to live through instead of examining what was going on in our life we needed to change. All this indicative of eventually a total lack of trust in the Lord even though He remained faithful and ready to forgive. The result? All those who held positions of ‘trust’ engaged in many myriad and various sins – some listed above.
Then we come to the last She has not drawn near to her God where Guzik says The worst offence was saved for last. God longed for relationship with His people, but they rejected His desire and went their own way. This is something we too easily overlook in our own lives, recognizing God actually desires a relationship with each and every one of us. We know our own lives, our own internal private thoughts, so it is difficult at times to imagine God, our Creator, desires a relationship with us individually. But the reality is He does. He does!
This should change everything for each of us knowing we are so loved by our Creator that He desires a relationship with each of us. So how do we go about this on our end? Prayer, reading His word, listening for His voice when praying or reading/studying His word. Paying attention to His corrections in our lives.
It is amazing to know how loved we are by our Creator and in His love He wants us to have a relationship with Him.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)