We see four times that the word “not” is mentioned. These ‘nots’ have to be untied before we can experience revival and the blessing of God in our lives. The Word of the Lord was sent to Jerusalem by Zephaniah. This was God’s city; notice what happened to it. The same thing is now happening to his house.
Zephaniah 3: Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! 2 She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.
There are four reasons shown here why Jerusalem was in horrible shape. This didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual falling away. You and I hold the key—every individual. I’m not coming this week to hear a revival. No evangelist brings a revival with him. He can’t do what God expects us to do. Else we’ll end up at the closing just like we started. We’ll fall back into the routine because we’re creatures of habit. God has had it with our routines. Lay aside ‘we’ve always done it this way.’ Jesus told the Pharisees that they took as the command of God the traditions of men. The Bible doesn’t back up our traditions. All churches have a little mold in how they do things. If you try to depart from that mold, some people get upset. The Church is not founded on habits of man. I can dress a certain way but that won’t bring blessings. If we went back to the old days we’d have no air conditioning, no padded pews, and we’d use oil lamps for light. Zephaniah said we think our ways are right but we have become an oppression instead of a light for others.
When you tie a knot in your shoes sometimes there has to be a double knot or it falls out while you walk. There is a time to tie and a time to untie knots. There are four ‘nots’ here that will help us get in touch with God if we untie them. Otherwise they will bind us away from God. They are reason for the pollution.
First, they obeyed not the voice of God. When we commune with God, do we set down what we want? It’s not about God obeying us; it’s our obedience to him. We’ve never been failed by the Master. He’s not forgotten his ‘obedience’ to us. Are we ready to do what God wants? Do we expect more out of him than we expect of ourselves? That’s a ‘not’ that needs to be untied.
Second, they received not correction. If something is not lining up the way it should, we make a correction. Remember God never does wrong. He has never stood in need of correction, yet we tell him how to fix it. The correction needs to come from us. Who among us has not sinned this past week, this past 24 hours? We need correction because we sin and come short. We need correction all the time. Are you correctable? This is why the city of Jerusalem failed. The people thought they needed no correction. God rewards our obedience but too many times we don’t accept his correction. Accepting correction is a sign of a good child. If we only see the correction needed by others and not ourselves we miss the mark.
Third, they trusted not in the Lord. Some people put conditions on trusting God. They tell God if he’ll do this or that for them, then they will follow him. We are in no position to bargain with God. Has God ever broken his trust with you? Has he acted in such a way to break your trust? No! We can’t trust ourselves. I am the most untrustworthy person in my life. We don’t trust and honor others and act as if there is no fault in us. We all need to say “it’s me that stands in the need of prayer.” If we see our own untrustworthiness and put our faith back in God we untie that ‘not’ and will see a change in our lives.
Fourth, they drew not near to God. Do you want to do your own thing and go your own path? We think we have the will of God for all things. We’d better know we’re in the will of God. You cannot be in just any way or position and expect God to come move on over. We do what we want and expect God to move our way. The Bible tells us that if we draw nigh to God then he will draw nigh to us. We need to go God’s way and untie the ‘not.’
These four ‘nots’ have to be untied if we are going to have revival. If we don’t truly untie them, after the revival meetings are over we’ll go right back to how we were. Untie the ‘nots’ and carry it though. Then we can experience the real blessing of God and have revival.