Thank the Lord for his justice, which sets all things right, and for his mercy toward those who submit to him.
Read Zephaniah 2:4-11
Philistia Gaza will be abandoned and Ashkelon left in ruins. At midday Ashdod will be emptied and Ekron uprooted.  Woe to you who live by the sea, you Kerethite people; the word of the LORD is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines. He says, “I will destroy you, and none will be left.”  The land by the sea will become pastures having wells for shepherds and pens for flocks.  That land will belong to the remnant of the people of Judah; there they will find pasture. In the evening they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon. The LORD their God will care for them; he will restore their fortunes. Moab and Ammon “I have heard the insults of Moab and the taunts of the Ammonites, who insulted my people and made threats against their land.  Therefore, as surely as I live,” declares the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, “surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah- a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them; the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.”  This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the LORD Almighty.  The LORD will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the earth. Distant nations will bow down to him, all of them in their own lands. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does God have in mind for Judah's near enemies?
The coming judgment will take in the enemies of the tiny nation of Judah. To the people of Judah, the Philistines are public enemy number one. They enjoy nothing more than harrying the people of Judah. They can be insufferable, as Samson and David found to their cost (cf. Judg. 15-16; 1 Sam. 17-31). From the east also come threats from the peoples of Transjordan, Moab, and Ammon. David and Solomon put these nations in their place, but again in Zephaniah’s day they are posing a threat to Judah. Like the nation of Judah, we as Christians feel the squeeze from the world around us–the squeeze of hostility, criticism, mockery, and the like. We will never be universally popular. Comfort comes when we remember that our enemies come under God’s judgment (6,9) because of what they have said and done and because of their pride. Our God is an awesome God. He will put all things right.
What will you do when you face hostility for following Jesus? Plan to improve your defenses and strengthen your witness.
Pray for God’s help to be faithful to him in the midst of persecution. Pray for your persecutors, too (cf. Matt. 5:44).
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