Scripture reading – Zephaniah 2
The prophecies of Zephaniah not only warn Judah of imminent judgment (1:2-2:3), but prophetically warned the day was coming when the LORD would judge all nations of the earth. Declaring the severity of God’s wrath and judgment, the prophet left no doubt the time of judgment was at hand.
Zephaniah 2 – An Exhortation to Repent
Remembering the longsuffering of the LORD, we are not surprised to read how the prophet Zephaniah called upon Judah to repent and, “seek…the LORD, all ye meek of the earth…seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger” (2:3).
Having heralded God’s warning of imminent judgment against Judah, the prophet then turned his message toward other nations. Zephaniah prophesied the LORD would punish the Philistines for their cruelties towards God’s people (2:4-8), naming four major Philistine cities, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron that would soon “be rooted up” (2:4). The once thriving seacoast towns would fall, and become “dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks” (2:6).
The Moabites and Ammonites (descendants of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughters, Genesis 19:30-38), were condemned for having “reproached [God’s] people (2:8). Like the Philistines, they would succumb to Babylon as divine punishment for their abuses of Israel. Their lands would become a wasteland, like Sodom and Gomorrah when those wicked cities were destroyed by fire (2:8-11)
The Ethiopians (of the lineage of Cush whose land was southeast of Egypt on the continent of Africa) would be slain (2:12). The once proud empire of Assyria would be destroyed, and its capital city, Nineveh, utterly destroyed by Babylon. That proud city, whose citizens were guilty deifying her as though she was a god (2:15; Isaiah 47:10), “became a desolation” inhabited by wild beasts (2:13-15), even as it is to this day.
Closing thought – The history of the rise and fall of nations, kings, and cities should serve notice to every generation that the LORD is Sovereign, and will do as He pleases. The Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Ethiopians, Assyrians, Israel, and finally Judah would fall to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, whom God declared as “my servant” (Jeremiah 43:10).
Proverbs 21:1 – 1The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will.
The LORD, He is King!
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith