Week of August 5 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Zephaniah 3:9

“For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples
    to a pure speech,
that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord
    and serve him with one accord.

Day 1 Read: Zephaniah 2:4-15

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.

Reflect: Why was the Lord going to judge the nations surrounding Judah, His people?

Consider: 2:12. The Cushites or Ethiopians are descendants of Cush, a son of Ham (Gen. 10:6; 1 Chron. 1:8). These people, residing in the upper Nile region (today’s southern Egypt, Sudan, and northern Ethiopia), were the southernmost people known to Judah. Zephaniah’s words concerning them were few and one wonders if his choice of them, rather than, say, the troublesome Edomites, was simply to stretch the points of the compass to the known extremes. Cushite kings dominated Egypt until their defeat by the Assyrian king Esarhaddon in 670 b.c.1

Respond: What implications can we draw from this word of the Lord against these nations? How does this prophecy of judgment against God’s enemies encourage God’s people to hold on to hope?

 

 

1 John D. Hannah, “Zephaniah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1530–1531.