“She heeded no voice, She accepted no instruction. She did not trust in the LORD, She did not draw near to her God” (Zeph. 3:2). This was the word the Lord God spoke regarding Judah, His chosen tribe. It was the time when His choice of Judah as a chosen tribe was coming to an end. By now the rest of the tribes of Israel were already excluded from God’s choice as they no longer revered Him. But, for God to keep Judah alone under His wings is because of the promise He made to David, His servant. In this promise was present His plan for the appearance of His Son through whom the whole earth will know Him. And, God’s eventual choice for a Kingdom will no longer be a single nation, as in Israel, but everyone that believed in His Son becomes His choice for the Kingdom. For God knew even before the foundation of the world that someone as perfect as Him is alone capable of saving the mankind. Therefore, both the Jews and the gentiles had to enter His kingdom through the Son of God that sacrificed Himself for the sin of the world. Mankind bound by sin due to the cunningness of Satan cannot by the choice of a nation as in Israel be redeemed from sin. Yet, God brought forth a nation as Israel to demonstrate His glory. They were commanded through the Law to refrain from the sin that is in the world. And, by being apart from sin the nation of Israel was to be a light to the world.
When Israel sinned, they did not uphold their duty toward the world. They further divided themselves into two parts of which God chose to keep one i.e. Judah. This too God knew beforehand, yet He continued to demonstrate His patience toward Judah that she might at last turn to Him. She could not return to Him, since she did not heed His voice or listen to His instruction. This further led her not to trust in God, the essential requirement to walk with Him. Therefore, she did not see the need to draw near to God. When the God’s people no longer have in them the knowledge of needing to draw near to God, they are without His grace and help. This is indicative of their judgment. “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Cut down her trees and cast up a siege against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, in whose midst there is only oppression’” (Jer. 6:6). God could not relent for ever. Though He chose Judah to be the tribe through whom His Son must appear, He did not overlook her sin. The times have changed and even the Law, but the God’s principle toward sin did not and never will. Though the church is the kingdom of God and is begotten by the blood of His Son, He will not overlook her sin. The nature of God does not allow Him to overlook sin. If Judah was a city to be punished in whose midst there is only oppression and yet God’s Son appeared from her, then the church that has sin in her will not be spared and yet God’s children will appear from her. In this is the magnificent work of God wherein it results in His choice people. Just as the appearing of the Son of God in the flesh is by a magnificent work of God wherein He was born by the Spirit, even so God’s children are a magnificent work of God wherein they are begotten by Him in the Spirit. The reason the Son of God was born by the power of the Holy Spirit and not by the flesh is because He never existed in the flesh. But, when He had to come in the flesh, He came by a magnificent work of God wherein He too like all men was with flesh and blood and yet, was born of the Spirit. For this reason also, God sent His Son that all who desire to become His children ought to be born of the Spirit.
This is the sign of God’s child that just as the Son of God born by the Spirit suffered in the flesh he too having been born in the Spirit suffers in the flesh. He who suffers in the flesh as the Spirit elsewhere inscribes ‘is without sin.’ The word of God is signifying to us, who claim to be of God, that those who are not armed to suffer in the flesh for the sake of the Son of God shall be conquered by sin; and sin will bring upon them the severity of God. What causes God’s children to sin has already been revealed. It is rejecting God’s voice and instruction that makes them incapable of trusting Him causing them to draw away from Him. The outcome is divisions in the church leading to many churches with many doctrines, even as it is in the present days. Those strayed away from listening to God can no longer perform the duty of being a light to the nations. Rather they speak against one another and by performing the work of sin they collectively work against the will of God. These are the woman Jezebel that led God’s children into sin by calling herself a prophetess. They all claim to be under the banner of God, but they have maligned the truth of the Son of God. They are not of God. In spite of this, there is a God’s choice of people that heeds His voice. He shall provide them to arm themselves against sin. “Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name” (Ps. 80:18). They are the house of the living God, the church of His Son.
The church that constantly receives reviving from God is the group of people that is accustomed to calling upon God’s name. This is their indicative nature. It will be impossible for them to turn back from God, unless they can no longer accept suffering for the Son of God. Because He makes them strong, they pledge not to turn back from Him. God through His Son continues to provide in many ways to such people. If in ministering to Him, then by the measure of their faith; if in benevolent works, then by the strength they receive from Him; if in performing the works of the Spirit for the demonstration of the power of God and for the well being of the believers, then by the power the Holy Spirit; if in supporting the spread of the gospel, then according to the blessings from Him. Whatever the Lord God desires to perform for the manifestation of His glory the church that constantly receives reviving from Him is equipped. Now, where is the power of sin, our enemy? It is made to keep quiet by the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. “Now the dread of the LORD was on all the kingdoms of the lands which were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat” (2 Chron. 17:10).
God’s power, righteousness and blessings will always be with the people that heed His instruction. He will walk before them, behind them and on either side of them that the power of the enemy is made powerless. The same Judah of whom God did not speak well through the prophet Zephaniah had in the earlier days enjoyed the luxury of being under His right hand. They not only experienced the power of His right hand, but also richly received from it. He fought for them and made His dread fall upon their enemies of which Judah did not have to do a thing. Today the equation to us is simple. When God’s children heed His instruction, the enemy that suffers them will be driven away by God. In fact, God keeps him quiet. All men are suffered by sin and therefore, there are none righteous. However, one is made righteous when the enemy, i.e. sin, is driven away from him by the power of God. The reason many present day churches carry the nature of Jezebel in them is because the sin that they assumed to have conquered is in fact corroborating with them. Here is the obscurity hidden in them. They speak just as those made righteous. Nevertheless, they do not act like the righteous. For they cannot since the sin present in them satisfies them with their tongue; it restrains them to perform the work of the heart and mind. They are not strengthened by God; they walk away from God. They are not revived by Him; they do not call on His name. To them the righteous church that speaks the truth appears wicked and insolent. “But David said, ‘What have I done now? Was it not just a question?’” (1 Sam. 17:29).
Dear reader, consider the churches that we read of in the word of God. Everything that was in them was from God. Men and women ministered to Christ only by the will of God. They heard, heeded and received abundantly. They proclaimed the gospel powerfully calling men and women to repent of their sin and to receive the invaluable gift of God. They fulfilled each other needs as the Lord God prompted them. They were filled by God beyond measure and therefore, were also able to test the spirits. They were taught extensively. They understood the mind of God. “You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 13:3). They prevailed when they were tested. God was glorified and the church flourished. How important it is for the present day churches to grasp this truth! To be in a position to recognize a false prophet or a false preacher is invaluable considering the worth of eternal life. Yet, many failed. Lack of understanding regarding the mind of God led them to live and engage in false beliefs. For this reason, false preachers and subsequently false churches emerged constantly maligning the truth of the Son of God. They are in vast numbers. Though they exuberantly claim to belong to Christ and God, they do not. These shall surely receive the penalty even as Judah that did not accept God’s instruction and turned against God. They rebelled against God by joining hands with sin. Through them God demonstrates that His hatred over sin remains perpetual. On the other hand, if you are aspiring to love the Lord with all your heart and soul hear His word, heed His instruction; trust in Him and draw near to Him, and you shall be revived. Then, you shall be steadfast having this joy in you. “Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn” (Ps. 57:8).