The Philistines were great enemies of the Israelites for many centuries. They came to the Mediterranean coast of Canaan from Crete. Recognized here and in other places as the Caphtorim, they settled south of Tyre and Sidon and were regularly battling God’s people for land and power.
In Jeremiah 47 the prophet announced that the Philistines would face overwhelming trouble from the north. An invading army would fill their territory. They might have expected some help from their international alliances, but no one would come to their aid. We are told that it would be the Lord Himself who would bring disaster by raising up a foreign power against them.
Any nation lasts as long as God allows them to exist. Pagan people might take desperate actions in order to please their gods in the vain hope that an idol would bring them lasting victory. Such measures could never stop “the sword of the Lord” from coming against them. If the time for their destruction was at hand, no incantations or solemn rituals would be able to hold back the Almighty.
The anger of God is a frightening prospect, not only for ancient nations, but for individuals throughout the world who are following Jesus Christ today. Those who claim to know God’s love but continue in rebellion deserve His wrath. Yet when the sword of divine justice was coming against us, the Lord came in person and stood in the way. Our Redeemer visited us in our affliction and received a mortal wound for our sake.
The Philistine system of false gods could never have saved those who worshiped them. Only the God of the Jews will bring His people eternal security. It is imperative for all who desire eternal life to be found in the protective custody of God’s own Son. Jesus has gone forth in our place to take the “sword of the Lord” and has defeated mortality for us. Our hope is in Him alone.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, for generations people of power have feigned a great confidence in their strength, yet at heart men know that they are dust. Who can pretend that the day of our death is so very far away? Make us sensible to the fact of Your existence. Help us to worship You in the beauty of holiness.