Woe to her that is rebellious and polluted, the oppressing city [Jerusalem]! She did not listen to and heed the voice [of God]; she accepted no correction or instruction; she trusted not in the Lord [nor leaned on or was confident in Him, but was confident in her own wealth]; she drew not near to her God [but to the god of Baal or Molech]. (Amplified)
The prophet Zephaniah pronounces a woe upon Jerusalem and personifies the people as her and she in this passage. The woe is pronounced because the people are not what God wanted them to be; they were rebellious and went after other gods; they were not teachable and not lead by the Lord; they were plainly not poor in spirit. Let us learn from this negative example of what is not poor in spirit.
That is rebellious and polluted. Rebellious in the Hebrew denotes resistance and disobedience. The people were rebellious and disobedient to the commands of God. The person who is poor in spirit does not rebel against the Lord because he only trusts in God and not in himself. The Lord is source of life and we will die spiritually if we rebelled and were separated from our God. The word used for polluted in the Hebrew means to defile, to pollute, to stain, to make impure. The person who is poor in spirit is not defiled for he is pure because he walks closely with his God in unbroken fellowship and is purified by the blood of the Lamb. The person of godly character stays pure because only when he is pure can he come into the Lord’s presence, which is His highest desire.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. (1 Samuel 15:23, HCSB)
She did not listen to and heed the voice of God. The person who is poor in spirit listens and heeds the voice of God because he knows that is where wisdom and direction comes from. To do otherwise is to trust in the self, which is opposed to the Lord of all creation. Self will lead the selfish anywhere except where the Lord God desires him to go. God’s will is only discernible by listening and heeding the voice of the Lord.
She accepted no correction. The person poor in spirit accepts correction because he knows that it will lead to developing Christian character and becoming all that God desires.
My son, do not despise or shrink from the chastening of the Lord [His correction by punishment of by subjection to suffering or trial]; neither be weary of or Impatient about or loathe or abhor His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12, Amplified)
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but one who hates correction is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1, HCSB)
Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; he who hates reproof will die. (Proverbs 15:10, NASB)
She accepted no instruction. The person poor in spirit accepts instruction because he understands that it God is the Teacher and he is the student. Remember a disciple is a student of the Lord Jesus Christ. This instruction and reproof will lead to developing the character God wants in the disciple.
The reverent and worshipful fear of the LORD is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7, Amplified)
Hold on to instruction; don’t let go. Guard it, for it is your life. (Proverbs 4:13, HCSB)
He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who ignores reproof goes astray. (Proverbs 10:17, NASB)
She trusted not in the Lord [nor leaned on or was confident in Him, but was confident in her own wealth]. The man poor in spirit trusts in the Lord and not in the self because the self will let him down and when he trusts in the Lord he will never be disappointed because the God Most High cannot disappoint.
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a Shield to all those who trust and take refuge in Him. (2 Samuel 22:31, Amplified)
Those who know Your name will trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh. (Psalm 9:10, HCSB)
She drew not near to her God. The person who is poor in spirit draws near to God because there is no other place to be. With drawing near to the Lord as their passion the poor in spirit will do whatever it takes to draw near.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works. (Psalm 73:28, Amplified)
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. (Hebrews 10:22, HCSB)
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8, NASB)
Read and meditate in the Scripture presented and pray how to apply them to your life.