Call to Repentance
Verse 1 – Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O understand nation,
Verse 2 – before the decree is issued, before the day passes like chaff, before the LORD’S fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger comes upon you!
Verse 3 – Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’S anger.
The Old Testament prophets announced news of destruction, but they also offered God’s mercy, the only way of escaping by turning back to God and stop sinning.
Verse 4 – For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon desolate; they shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron shall be uprooted.
These four cities mentioned here were the cities of Philistine, the nation southwest of Judah, age-old enemies of Israel from the days of Joshua. They were known for their cruelty and their constant taunting of Israel. These were four of the five major cities. The fifth was Gath which had probably already been destroyed.
Verse 5 – Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines: “I will destroy you; so there shall be no inhabitant.”
Verse 6 – The seacoast shall be pastures, with shelters for shepherds and folds for flocks.
Verse 7 – The coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed their flocks there; in the houses of Ashkelon they shall lie down at evening. For the LORD their God shall intervene for them, and return their captives.
All though God said He would destroy Judah, He would save a remnant, a people who remained faithful to Him. These were the ones that would return from exile.
Verse 8 – “I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the reveling of the people of Ammon, with which they have reproached MY people, and made arrogant threats against their borders.
Verse 9 – Therefore, as I live, says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Surely Moab shall be like Sodom, and the people of Ammon like Gomorrah – overrun with weeds and salt-pits, and a perpetual desolation; the residue of My people shall plunder them, and the remnant of My people shall possess them.”
This remnant was primarily of Judah and ultimately of all Israel. The Lord would give this remnant the territory of other nations to them, reversing the curse of Deuteronomy 28:62-66.
Verse 10 – This they shall have for their pride, because they have reproached and made arrogant threats against the people of the LORD of hosts.
Verse 11 – The LORD will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations.
The nations of Moab and Ammon trace their roots to Lot’s incest with his daughters after escaping the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God was going to destroy these two cities exactly like He did Sodom and Gomorrah. When we are mocked and ridiculed for our faith, remember, God hears and will defend those that stay faithful to Him.
Verse 12 – “You Ethiopians also, you shall be slain by My sword.”
Which were slain when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt, with which Ethiopia were allies.
Verse 13 – And He will stretch out His hand against the north, destroy Assyria, and make Nineveh a desolation, as dry as the wilderness.
Just as Zephaniah predicted, Nineveh was wiped out in 612 B.C. by the Babylonians, who would become the next world power.
Verse 14 – The herds shall lie down in her midst, every beast of the nation. Both the pelican and the bittern (hedge hog) shall lodge on the capitals of her pillars; their voice shall be at the threshold; for He will lay bare the cedar work.
Verse 15 – This is the rejoicing city that dwelt securely, that said in her heart, “I am it, and there is none besides me.” How has she become desolation, a place for beasts to lie down! Everyone who passes by her shall hiss and shake his fist.
The destruction of this great city, Nineveh, was like if we predicted the destruction of Tokyo, Moscow, or New York. They were so rich in culture, technology, and beauty, that they thought it could never happen to them. However, if you will remember, Nineveh had repented for a time after Jonah preached and God had prospered them.
Please don’t ever forget where your blessing come from. I’ve seen this happen to so many when they live in favor and blessings and then soon forget where it all came from. Everything we have is because God chose to allow us to possess it. Arrogance and the spirit of pride are not a characteristic of one of God’s children!