Daily Devotional Tuesday 15th December 2020

by William Moody

Zephaniah 2:1–7

Judgment on Judah’s Enemies

2:1   Gather together, yes, gather,
    O shameless nation,
  before the decree takes effect1
    —before the day passes away like chaff—
  before there comes upon you
    the burning anger of the LORD,
  before there comes upon you
    the day of the anger of the LORD.
  Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land,
    who do his just commands;2
  seek righteousness; seek humility;
    perhaps you may be hidden
    on the day of the anger of the LORD.
  For Gaza shall be deserted,
    and Ashkelon shall become a desolation;
  Ashdod’s people shall be driven out at noon,
    and Ekron shall be uprooted.
  Woe to you inhabitants of the seacoast,
    you nation of the Cherethites!
  The word of the LORD is against you,
    O Canaan, land of the Philistines;
    and I will destroy you until no inhabitant is left.
  And you, O seacoast, shall be pastures,
    with meadows3 for shepherds
    and folds for flocks.
  The seacoast shall become the possession
    of the remnant of the house of Judah,
    on which they shall graze,
  and in the houses of Ashkelon
    they shall lie down at evening.
  For the LORD their God will be mindful of them
    and restore their fortunes.

Footnotes

[1] 2:2 Hebrew gives birth
[2] 2:3 Or who carry out his judgment
[3] 2:6 Or caves

(ESV)

Zephaniah calls for the people of Judah to be humble and seek the Lord as they may yet find safety in the day of the Lord’s anger (v1-3). Messages of judgment are not sent to destroy but to cause humility and repentance so for people to find hope.

The focus of Zephaniah’s prophesy now turns to other nations and first the Philistines are mentioned. Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron are four Philistine city states on the coast with the Mediterranean (v4). These people are called Cherethites which links them with the island of Crete and speaks of them being originally a seafaring nation (v5). The picture here is of cities and land being deserted. That which people took pride in and fought for in the past will be totally lost.

In the end their land and cities will become the possession of the remnant of Judah (v6-7). Despite the emphasis on judgment on Judah in chapter 1, the Lord still loves His people and it is also His desire to restore.

This passage helps remind us that God is Sovereign over those who oppose His people and God will bring judgment in His time.

The passage also reminds us of how God will always welcome the repentant sinner. Jesus will never turn away those who come to Him.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.