Jerusalem, Capitol City of Judah, is in view today, in our Lesson. And three descriptors are applied to these precious people, “accusations” from God Himself.
Let’s read the specifics, Zephaniah 3:1. “Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city.” (I really wanted to include verse 2 in this Monday’s Lesson, but it must wait another day.)
The introductory “Woe” found here is an interjection in Hebrew, a part of speech expressing great surprise, astonishment even. It’s also a warning of troublesome times to come. It often contains a touch of “sympathy, pity,” according to one lexicon.
By name a “city” is being addressed. Unidenified, specifically … but Jerusalem, obviously. (Notice there is no mention of a foreign, heathen nation in the sentence, in its whole paragraph really.) Matter of fact … God often “preaches” to His Own people, first! Peter said: “The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17
Here God’s Special City (He loves that place dearly) is labeled with 3 poignant adjectives; filthy, polluted and oppressive! Graphic, isn’t it, this description?
“Filthy” translates an extremely unusual word, “mara” in Hebrew. It literally means “to beat the air, to flap one’s wings!” It is only used twice in the Bible. The other place being Job 39:18 of the bird we call the ostrich, who “lifteth up” herself on high! I think this is “filthiness” as in “pride!” Sinful pride, self aggrandizement.
“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.”
Then the City is “polluted,” spelled “gaal” and meaning “stained, desecrated, defiled.”
The verbal “oppressing” means “to treat violently, to do wrong (egregiously),” and is spelled “yanah” in Hebrew.
God KNOWS the heart, always! “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
By the way, God knows our hearts, too.
Psalm 15 mentions a man who “speaketh the truth IN HIS HEART!”
Oh, to be pure in the sight of God!
Jesus in Matthew 5:8 taught: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
I wonder if God says anything about Washington, DC? Or New York City or London or Paris or Moscow? Of course He knows the rebellion inherent in the world today. And as with Jerusalem … so with all the world … some day judgment will come. In that context Amos thunders, “Prepare to meet thy God.” Amos 4:12