Day 2 Read: Zephaniah 3:1-5
Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! 2 She listens to no voice; 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 judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning. 4 Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy; they do violence to the law. 5 The Lord within her is righteous; he does no injustice; every morning he shows forth his justice; each dawn he does not fail; but the unjust knows no shame.
Reflect: How was Jerusalem displaying a prideful spirit against God and others? What were Jerusalem’s leaders supposed to do with their authority and position?
Consider: Nahum identified Nineveh as the “city of blood” (Nah 3:1). Zephaniah’s assessment of Jerusalem was not much different. Jerusalem was a “city of oppressors.” The opening verse is all encompassing “addressing their relationship to God, to self, and to other people.” In fact, the messages of the two prophets concerning the cities could be reversed without missing the point of the prophets. Nineveh was a city built on bloodshed, filled with lies and the spoils of warfare against oppressed peoples (Nah 3:1). On the other hand, Jerusalem, the city where God had chosen to have his name dwell, was a city filled with oppressors. In different ways, both cities took advantage of the weak. God’s judgment would come against Jerusalem as surely as it would against Nineveh.2
Respond: How do you display a prideful spirit against God and others? What are some ways you can combat pride in your life so that you can live in humility before God?
2 Kenneth L. Barker, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, vol. 20, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 472–473.