Tuesday, March 7th
Devotional written by Pastor Brian Howard, Teaching Pastor
THE NATURE OF SIN
To read today: Zephaniah 3:1-2
She obeys no one; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God.
Everyone agrees that people can be cruel, wicked, arrogant, and selfish, but no one can agree on why. Most secular theories on why this is the case center around nurture, claiming that poor parenting, power systems, economic injustice, or cultural pathologies lay at the root of human dysfunction. But the Bible has a different view altogether, insisting that the issue with the world is not nurture but our human nature. Specifically, the Bible claims that human beings were created in the image of God but twisted deeply by the curse of sin. Our primary need is not for society to be transformed around us but rather for our hearts to be transformed within us. The Christian worldview sees the most profound problem as internal, not external. Even when there is national sin and rebellion, as in the case of the nation of Judah, the diagnosis of the issue from God is the state of the people’s hearts. We see this clearly in our passage today.
The people in Judah obeyed no one. We are reminded that our propensity toward rebellion against a qualified authority (in homes, churches, businesses, and government) is part of the curse of sin and a reason for so much of the heartache in the world. We additionally see that the people in Judah accepted no correction. A resistance to correction from anyone (whether your spouse, friends, pastor, or boss) is a sure sign of sin reigning in someone’s life. The people of Judah did not trust the Lord. A lack of trust in the Lord is shown every time we walk in disobedience to the clear commands of Scripture. If the Bible tells us to do something, but we refuse to do so, we are telling God that we know what He has to say but do not trust Him for our flourishing. Finally, we see that the people of Judah do not draw near to God. Resistance to God’s presence is often a symptom of sin because we know that God’s presence will burn against any unholiness we have within us.
In short, the sickness in the heart of the people of Judah is something we should look for in ourselves. We should never underestimate the ability of the world, our flesh, and the devil to lure us into the same heart posture the people of Judah had.
Final Thought: Are you willing to obey qualified authorities in your life? Are you willing to be corrected by anyone? Do you trust the Lord enough to obey Him? Do you actively seek the presence of the Lord?