“Gather together, yes, gather, O shameless nation.” The Lord intended to discipline His own people because of their violations of His commandments. If they would not hear His final warnings, they would suffer the fate of the surrounding nations who worshiped idols. What was God’s instruction to the Jews in this hour of decision? “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do His just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.”
All the neighboring countries would be cut off from their property. Philistines, Moabites, and Ammonites would all feel the consequences of their pride. They had “taunted and boasted” against the worshipers of God, but they would soon be destroyed. Even more distant empires like Cush and Assyria would become a “desolation.” Wealthy cities that were centers of imperial authority would now be populated by “all kinds of beasts.”
The men and women who lived in luxury imagined that they were far above the God of Israel. Zephaniah quoted their absurd motto: “I am, and there is no one else.” Did they have any awareness of their blasphemy as they took Jehovah’s own Name as their own? Were they claiming that they were the unstoppable I-AM? In due time the meek remnant of the Lord’s chosen assembly would inherit everything that had once belonged to their enemies. The lifeless pagan “gods” of the world would be “famished” since no supplicants would bring them food offerings any longer.
The hope of the few faithful could never be assured through their own keeping of God’s law. The Lord has always demanded perfect and perpetual obedience, and they could not even remotely satisfy His exacting requirements. Nonetheless their sinless Redeemer would meet all of God’s holy demands and die for the sins of His beloved sons and daughters. A foolish man might presume that he is supreme without even bothering to acknowledge Yahweh. The godly will be content to find their worth in the refuge of the Almighty who made the heavens and the earth.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Sovereign Lord, we are ashamed of our sin. We should seek You and obey Your commandments. We pray that You would grant to us both righteousness and humility. Father, please make a distinction between Your people and their enemies, for You love Your church. Your Son gave His blood for us, but You will bring a devastating judgment upon the world. We must be found by You in mercy, and kept by Your faithfulness, or we will be destroyed with the wicked.