Zephaniah 2:4-15 – I Will Survive

Read Zephaniah 2:4-15

The universal judgment is spelled out in a little more detail here. It is thought that the nations mentioned represent the whole world, each being in a different geographical direction (Egypt/Ethiopian to the south; Assyria to the north; Philistia to the west; and Moab/Ammon to the east.) What did the other nations do? They disrespected their creator. You can’t taunt or insult God or his people without consequence. God will have the final word.

Pride is another divisive quality that God will punish. “They will receive the wages of their pride, for they have scoffed at the people of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Here we see that those people who balk at us, look down on us for our faith and ridicule our belief system will see consequences. We don’t have to fight that battle; God has our back!

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Zephaniah 1:1-6 – God’s Wrath

Read Zephaniah 1:1-6

Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah and would have spoken God’s words during the reign of King Josiah. You’ll recall when King Josiah learned of the scrolls containing God’s law, great reforms began to help the people of Judah to return to God. Zephaniah would help shake the people of Judah out of their complacency so they could understand their hope comes from God.

Zephaniah doesn’t sugar coat the radical message from God but gets right to the point. God’s wrath will sweep away everything and crush Jerusalem and Judah. Even his own creation will suffer. God’s anger has been fueled by all the idol worship that fills the land.

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Nahum 1:12-15 – Hope & Doom

Read Nahum 1:12-15

Our last reading set the theological context for what Nahum’s message is all about. In this reading, we see clearly two messages, one to Nineveh and one to God’s people, Israel. The same message was heard differently, depending on the perspective. God’s promise of hope and doom were wrapped up in this communication.

Despite the viewpoint, God’s prophecy must have sounded unbelievable. The might of the Assyrian empire was seemingly invincible. The people would see this prophecy play out and realize that God was not only true to his word, but that he was truly invincible. That’s the picture I have of God and I don’t need to witness the crumbling of a mighty nation to understand. The oracle pronouncing this judgment on Assyria would bring peace, freedom, and restoration from the oppression God’s people had endured.

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Obadiah 15-16 – The Day is Coming

Read Obadiah 15-16

What a way to start out this reading! “The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations!” Obadiah has focused up to now on Edom, the long-time rival of Israel. But Edom was not the only nation to rejoice at Judah’s fall. All nations will be judged for the way they have treated God’s people. Has the “day,” referred to here, happened yet?

We know Edom ceased to exist as a nation. That land is now divided between present-day southern Israel and Jordan. This part of Obadiah’s prophecy, then, points toward other nations being judged and destroyed. “Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history.”

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Hebrews 6:13-20 – Rely on God’s Promises

Read Hebrews 6:13-20

It might help to recall verse 12 from our last reading to “follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.” Now it makes sense why the Preacher called out Abraham. You’ll recall Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years from the time God promised to multiply his descendants to the birth of Isaac. That was obedience we can learn from, too!

God is in the business of keeping his promises. We can be sure of that. The Preacher reminds us God sealed his promise to Abraham with an oath. In ancient times, when people wanted to guarantee their promise or give value to their word, they might swear by the divine name. Putting God’s name on your promise was intended to give it more authority. To break an oath would be extremely dishonoring to God. God cannot lie!

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