Rev. Nathan Meador, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Wisconsin, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Zephaniah 2.
“Seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.” Like John the Baptist, Zephaniah prophesied that disaster was inevitable—God’s judgment was about to fall on Gentile and Judahite alike. Repentance can’t buy God off.
And yet, when King Josiah heeded Zephaniah’s words, Judah enjoyed the gospel’s light as it re-discovered the Bible amidst the darkness. It was only for a short while, and it didn’t stop the Babylonians from coming, but God showed mercy to a generation that humbled itself. Zephaniah’s message foreshadows Jesus Christ, who was the Light amidst the darkness, founding the church amidst disaster in Judea, and showing grace to His “remnant” today.
Thy Strong Word is a daily in-depth study of the books of the Bible with host Rev. AJ Espinosa and guest pastors from across the country. Thy Strong Word is graciously underwritten by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation and produced by the LCMS Office of National Mission.
Judgment on Judah’s Enemies
2 Gather together, yes, gather,
O shameless nation,
2 before the decree takes effect[a]
—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.
3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
who do his just commands;[b]
seek righteousness; seek humility;
perhaps you may be hidden
on the day of the anger of the Lord.
4 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[c] 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;[d]
even the owl and the hedgehog[e]
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.
- Zephaniah 2:2 Hebrew gives birth
- Zephaniah 2:3 Or who carry out his judgment
- Zephaniah 2:6 Or caves
- Zephaniah 2:14 Hebrew beasts of every nation
- Zephaniah 2:14 The identity of the animals rendered owl and hedgehog is uncertain
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org