Judgment on Judah’s Enemies
2 Gather together, yes, gather,
O shameless nation,
before the decree takes effect
—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;
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 meadows 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.
“I have heard the taunts of Moab
and the revilings of the Ammonites,
how they have taunted my people
and made boasts against their territory.
Therefore, as I live,” declares the LORD of hosts,
the God of Israel,
“Moab shall become like Sodom,
and the Ammonites like Gomorrah,
a land possessed by nettles and salt pits,
and a waste forever.
The remnant of my people shall plunder them,
and the survivors of my nation shall possess them.”
This shall be their lot in return for their pride,
because they taunted and boasted
against the people of the LORD of hosts.
The LORD will be awesome against them;
for he will famish all the gods of the earth,
and to him shall bow down,
each in its place,
all the lands of the nations.
You also, O Cushites,
shall be slain by my sword.
And he will stretch out his hand against the north
and destroy Assyria,
and he will make Nineveh a desolation,
a dry waste like the desert.
Herds shall lie down in her midst,
all kinds of beasts;
even the owl and the hedgehog
shall lodge in her capitals;
a voice shall hoot in the window;
devastation will be on the threshold;
for her cedar work will be laid bare.
This is the exultant city
that lived securely,
that said in her heart,
“I am, and there is no one else.”
What a desolation she has become,
a lair for wild beasts!
Everyone who passes by her
hisses and shakes his fist.
Zephaniah 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Before the decree takes effect…”Zephaniah 2:2
The announcement of God’s judgment echoed in the first chapter of Zephaniah – now the warning is given to those who will heed.
Much like the parable of the 10 virgins found in Matthew 25, Jesus gave warning. The Bridegroom was coming but the ladies did not know when. They had to be ready. In order to do so, they had to ensure their lamps were trimmed and filled. As the parable goes, midnight came and a shout came through the Bridegroom was coming. They were to go meet with him.
Sadly only half of them were ready, while the other half had been nonchalant about their lamps. The ones who were not hurried away to make the purchase of oil and while gone, he came. Those who were ready were taken to the wedding feast and the door was shut behind them. Jesus ended this parable with an ominous warning: “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day or the hour.”
Zephaniah stated that before the decree of the prophecy comes about, the people must seek the Lord. They must come in humility and seek righteousness. It was a plea to be ready. It was a challenge to have their lamps trimmed and filled much like Jesus’ warning.
So much of the time we get caught up in the here and now. In the scheme of eternity, we forget the fact that this life is really a blip in regards to what eternity looks like. What we do now affects tomorrow. And what we do now affects eternity… our eternity.
Are your lamps trimmed? Are you watching in expectation but also living in the reality of now through your choices that affect the future? Seek Him. Be alert.
Zephaniah 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Urgency. Do you sense it? Are you living it?
There are two massive truth bombs that come from this chapter. The first is that God will repay all evil done against Him outside of repentance through Jesus Christ. Sometimes we fall into the negative pattern of believing God is letting sin slide. He is not. Just consider the words spoken to all these pagan nations who had dwelled carelessly in His world.
I have heard the taunting of Moab…
…the insults of the Ammonites…
This is the self-assured city that lives in security, that thinks to herself: I exist, and there is no one else…
All of this did not go unseen or unheard. This should bring both a conviction and relief to those of us who are saved by the blood of Jesus. On one hand, we understand the debt that was paid for us. On the other hand, we rejoice knowing that evil will not prosper. God sees it all.
The second truth to consider is that in His mercy, God spares the remnant. We find this with Lot. We read of it with Rahab. The life of Joseph is a prime example of how God goes before in the middle of a crisis.
For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. 7 God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.Genesis 45:6-7 HCSB
Here in Zephaniah, God offers a way out to those who were humble and repentant.
Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth, who carry out what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the LORD’s anger.Zephaniah 2:3 HCSB
This is no different than Jesus’ words to the believers today who have an opportunity to respond to His message. In fact, through Jesus, it is no longer a “perhaps” but an assurance of being (not just concealed but raised up!) on the Day of the Lord.
Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”John 6:37-40 HCSB
The entire chapter speaks of our reasonable response to what God has revealed to us. So, again I ask…
Urgency. Do you sense it? Are you living it? Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.