Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Zephaniah|
Chapter: Zephaniah 2
Passage: Zephaniah 2:1-7
A. Find Out:
1. Who is told to do what? v.1
2. For what is coming? v.2
3. What are they told to do with what hope? v.3
4. Who is then spoken against? v.4,5a,b
5. What will happen to them? v.5c
6. What will then happen to their land and why? v.6,7
1. What is the thrust of verses 1 to 3?
2. What is going to happen to whom in verses 4 and 5?
Verses 1 to 3 are perhaps better seen as a straight continuation from Chapter 1 that speaks of the coming Day of the Lord. Israel (or Judea ) are referred to as a shameful nation (v.1) because of their sins (1:17, 4-6,9). When they are told twice to “Gather together” such a gathering was usually a holy convocation to seek the Lord. They are told to do this before such a day comes on them (v.2). It is an appeal to those with right hearts – those who are humble and obedient (v.3) – to seek further humility and righteousness (?on behalf of the nation?) so that perhaps His judgment may be averted.
The prophecy then turns towards the land of the Philistines and the cities of the Philistines (v.4,5) and they are warned that they will be completely destroyed (v.5c). Now earlier we asked the catch question, “Why?” and it is a catch because we are not told here the sin of the Philistines, only what the Lord will use their land for after His judgment has come.
The ultimate end of their land will be that it will be used by the remnant of Israel (v.7a) so that their shepherds may live there (v.6) and that it will be a place where the Lord can come and care for them after He has restored them. Here, yet again, there is given hope for the future for the faithful remnant of God's people.
1. Judgment will come on all those who arrogantly reject the Lord.
2. Judgment will be avoided by the humble and faithful remnant.
Chapter: Zephaniah 2
Passage: Zephaniah 2:8-11
A. Find Out:
1. What has the Lord heard? v.8
2. So what will happen to them? v.9a
3. What will be their end? v.9b
4. What had they been doing? v.10
5. So what will the Lord do? v.11a
6. With what outcome? v.11b
1. What was the Lord's problem with Moab and Ammon?
2. So what does He say He will do with them?
3. Yet how are Israel recipients of His provision?
Moab and Ammon, two countries to the east and south-east, had historically been enemies of Israel . In the day of the Lord, when the Lord brings an accounting to all nations, these two will be held especially accountable. There is not merely ignorance of the Lord (as perhaps countries further afield might claim) but there had been ongoing animosity towards the people of God and for that God will hold them accountable.
They had insulted, taunted and threatened Israel (v.8) and in their pride they had mocked and insulted the people of God (v.10). When you mock the people of God you mock the Lord, and He WILL hold you accountable.
In this time He will come and bring complete destruction to their land and they will become as Sodom and Gomorrah , those two cities that epitomised the total destruction by the Lord (v.9a). They have relied upon their own ‘gods', false, lifeless and powerless idols and in this Day the Lord will remove all such things from their lands (v.11a) and everyone around will see and be in awe of the Lord (v.11b).
But yet again, as we saw with the land of the Philistines (v.6,7), their land will be handed over to Israel for the faithful remnant to take it over and live there (v.9b).
1. Insult God's people and you insult God.
2. Insult God and you will answer to Him.
1. Who next does He warn briefly? v.12
2. Who then will the Lord deal with? v.13
3. What will the outcome be? v.14
4. What had Nineveh thought about herself? v.15a
5. Yet what will be her end? v.15b.
In verses 8 to 11 God warned the nations to the east and south-east of Israel . Now in verse 12, almost in passing it seems, He warns the Cushites who lived in Egypt that He would deal with them. Then in verses 13 to t 15 He speaks against Assyria to the north, and its capital, Nineveh . Now Nahum had been the main prophet to prophesy against Nineveh and he prophesied between 663 and 612BC. Zephaniah prophesied between 640 and 609 (Josiah's reign) Nineveh fell - and so their words were fulfilled – in 612.
This present word is therefore brought sometime between 640 and 612BC. It is a clear warning of coming destruction (v.13). The reference to ‘dry as a desert' is significant because Nineveh was defended by surrounding water but the Medes, Persians and Scythians came against it but the walls were too great for them. After a 3 month siege heavy rains raised the river levels to such an extent they broke into the city and the walls collapsed and Nineveh fell!
The warning is that after its fall, the land where Nineveh existed would revert to wildlife (v.14), a sign of the absence of humans. This will be a complete and utter destruction of that apparently great and impregnable city. They thought themselves great, they thought there was no other like them and they thought they were invulnerable but they were going to fall, because God said so.
RECAP - "National Judgments" - Zephaniah 2
In this second group of 3 studies we have seen :
The first three verses continue on from chapter 1 which was warning against Judea but the warning doesn't finish without a final call to heed the warning and repent and, through such repentance, to avoid the effects of the coming judgment (the implication seems to be that some might heed – this the faithful remnant – while others would not and would therefore suffer the judgment.)
In the remainder of the verses of this chapter five other peoples are challenged and warned of impending judgments coming. Intriguingly, reasons for the judgments are given only for Moab and Ammon. We have to guess at the reasons for the others.
What is clear is that the eyes of the Lord are not just on His people Israel , left in Judea , but also on surrounding peoples who have been enemies of them.
1. Judgment warnings always give opportunity for repentance.
2. The Lord much prefers repentance than death (see Ezek 18:23,32)
3. The Lord is concerned for His whole world, as well as His people.
4. All peoples are accountable to the Lord.
Thank the Lord for His salvation He has made known.
PART 3 : " Folly of Judea and God's Desire for a Faithful Remnant "
In this next Part we'll see why judgement was necessary and for the aim of bringing out of it a faithful remnant.