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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God.”— Zephaniah 3:2 (NIV)
As a parent of a five-year-old and an almost two-year-old, I encounter a fair amount of rebellion and disobedience. When my daughter was 18 months old, she began throwing temper tantrums. Sometimes she threw things, sometimes she threw herself on the floor and started kicking, and sometimes she’d cry and yell. She was too young to be reasoned with, and if we told her to stop acting that way or tried to talk her down from her rebellion, it only seemed to make things worse.
In Zephaniah 3, we’re given a description of what could easily be a child experiencing the “terrible twos” stage—a period in a child's early social development (typically around the age of two years) that is associated with defiant or unruly behavior. However, the prophet Zephaniah wasn’t talking about a toddler; he was talking about Jerusalem and its leaders. From city officials and rulers to prophets and priests, Zephaniah describes them as roaring lions, evening wolves, and treacherous, unprincipled oppressors.
Based on today’s verse, it seems this all stems from disobedience. One Bible commentary goes as far as to say, “Jerusalem is incurable, obstinately rejecting salutary admonition, and refusing to be reformed by correction.” This idea is supported by Jeremiah 5:3. Earlier I wrote that Zephaniah wasn’t referring to a toddler, but the more I think about it, the more I see that in many ways, this is how the Israelites were behaving. Despite being God’s people, they acted like entitled, disobedient, stubborn, rebellious, illogical, unreasonable children.
Similarly, you could look on at Jonah’s behavior and see a stubborn, toddler-like reaction in his disobedience to God’s command to go to Nineveh. But as we see with Jonah and Jerusalem, this kind of disobedience toward God— the all-knowing, eternal, perfect Father who works all for the good of those who love Him, whose ways and plans are infinitely better than ours—results in disaster and pain for us. Refusal to accept the Lord’s correction causes us to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, fall into bad habits, and damage ourselves and the people around us.
So, what lesson can I offer you today? As kindly as I can put this . . . Grow up, believer! Where God calls, go! Where God leads, follow! Where God commands, obey! Where God corrects, listen! Otherwise, you may find yourself in the belly of a beast when you should be living abundantly and soaring on wings like eagles.
DIG: Read Zephaniah 3, Jeremiah 5, and 1 Peter 1.
DISCOVER: What have you seen take place in your life as a result of disobedience and rebellion? How have you seen others’ disobedience impact their lives and the lives of the people around them?
DISPLAY: If you’re in rebellion against God in any area of your life, repent today! Ask the Lord to bring His correction into your life and help you change course.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.