Sep 12, 2021
Passages like Zephaniah 2, in which
God details the coming judgement on the enemies of Israel, tend to
make contemporary readers a bit squeamish. After all, the
outpouring of words and phrases like “desolation,” “woe,” “I will
destroy you,” and “You shall be slain” doesn’t seem particularly
winsome. But the promises that God will defend His people from
their enemies aren’t there to be lurid or triumphalist—they are
there for our comfort. In times of distress and uncertainty, we
need passages like this to remind us that when we build our faith
on the Rock of Ages, we may “smile at all our foes.” We need to
remember His “grace and favor to our fathers in distress,” and
believe that He likewise “rescues us from all our foes.” We need to
trust that He will come to us and draw the quarry from the lion’s
claw. We need to hear the command not to fret when evil seems to
prosper in the land—because the wicked will fade like grass, their
weapons shall be broken, and they will not even lift a resisting
hand against the Lord. Instead, “The righteous shall rejoice to see
God’s vengeance coming in.” So, take heart as we read about the
downfall of Canaan, Moab, Cush, and Assyria. Passages like this
point us to one of the most comforting truths of all: that the
right man is on our side, and He must win the battle. —Henry C.
Key Words: Word, Remnant, Mindful, Restore, Taunt, Pride, Possess, Desolation, Bow Down
Keystone Verses: 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. (Zephaniah 2:7)
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. 5 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. 6 And you, O seacoast, shall be pastures, with meadows for shepherds and folds for flocks. 7 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.
8 “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. 9 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.” 10 This shall be their lot in return for their pride, because they taunted
and boasted against the people of the Lord of hosts. 11 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. 12 You also, O Cushites, shall be slain by My sword.
13 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. 14 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. 15 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.