13 min 7 dys
July 9, 2024
DAILY BIBLE READING – Zephaniah Chapter 2
1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;
Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord‘s anger come upon you.
Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord‘s anger.
For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.
Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the Lord is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.
And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.
And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
Therefore as I live, saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the Lord of hosts.
11 The Lord will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.
12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.
13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.
14 And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds; for he shall uncover the cedar work.
15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.
King James VersionPublic Domain

Commentary
The second chapter of the book of Zephaniah contains a compelling admonition to humility and warns of the consequences of pride and disobedience to God. The verses appeal to the people to gather and repent before God’s wrath strikes them. This message is timeless and emphasizes the importance of repentance and humility.
Verses 1-3: Call to Repentance
Zephaniah urges the hostile people to gather and repent before God’s judgment reaches them. The urgency of this warning is highlighted by the threefold repetition of “before,” which underscores the imminent threat of God’s wrath. The call to seek the Lord, practice righteousness, and show humility emphasizes that this is the only way to be spared on the day of God’s wrath.
Verses 4-7: Judgment on the Philistines
The prophecy against Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron describes the destruction of these Philistine cities. The mentioned cities are historical enemies of Israel, and their destruction is portrayed as a consequence of their hostility towards God’s people. The text promises that the abandoned land will later belong to the remnant of Judah, who will graze their flocks and settle there.
Verses 8-11: Judgment on Moab and Ammon
God has heard the mocking and blasphemy of the Moabites and Ammonites, who have ridiculed the people of Israel. These nations will be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah, and their land will become a barren wasteland. This punishment is due to their pride and contempt for God and His people. The Lord will destroy all the gods, and the nations will worship Him.
Verses 12-15: Judgment on Other Nations
The verses are directed against the Cushites and Assyrians, particularly Nineveh. These cities and peoples will be destroyed by God’s hand. Nineveh, once a proud and secure city, will become a desolate wasteland, inhabited by animals and birds. This reversal of fortune underscores the transience of human pride and the absolute power of God.
Conclusion
The chapter ends with a compelling reminder of the transience of earthly glory and God’s power to administer justice. The described punishments serve as a warning to all nations and emphasize the necessity of humility and fear of God. Zephaniah calls for turning away from pride and sin and seeking God in order to be spared on the day of judgment.

 

 

WEEKLY SPIRIT OF PROPHECY READING – Ellen White | The Desire of Ages Chapter 45: The Foreshadowing of the Cross
This chapter is based on Matthew 16:13-28; Mark 8:27-38; Luke 9:18-27.
Read online here

 

Comment
Introduction:
This chapter deals with the profound preparation and awareness of Jesus regarding his impending suffering and death. Based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it highlights Jesus’ foreknowledge of his path to the cross and his dedication to fulfilling God’s will.
Jesus’ Awareness of His Suffering:
Jesus was fully aware of the pain and agony that awaited him. Even before his incarnation, he had foreseen the entire path of suffering. Despite knowing the impending torments, insults, and deprivations, he chose to walk this path out of love for humanity. His willingness to fulfill God’s will demonstrates his deep dedication and obedience to the Father.
The Significance of the Cross:
The cross is a central symbol in this chapter. Jesus saw it not only as an instrument of his suffering but also as a means of redeeming humanity. Despite the impending pain, he was encouraged by the prospect of human salvation. His suffering and death were meant to bring people back to faithfulness to God.
Preparation of the Disciples:
Jesus prepared his disciples for the upcoming events. He knew they would witness his crucifixion and death and wanted to strengthen them. In a city near Caesarea Philippi, far from the influence of the Jews, he spoke with them about their faith and reaffirmed their conviction that he was the Messiah.
Peter’s Confession:
Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus praised him for this and explained that this revelation did not come from human wisdom but through divine inspiration. This recognition formed the foundation of the disciples’ faith and the future Church.
The Announcement of Jesus’ Suffering:
For the first time, Jesus spoke openly about his impending suffering and death. This announcement deeply shocked the disciples, as they were still hoping for an earthly kingdom. Peter’s attempt to dissuade Jesus was sharply rebuked by Jesus, as he misunderstood the divine mission.
The Concept of Self-Denial:
Jesus explained to his disciples the necessity of self-denial and taking up the cross. This meant denying one’s own self and being willing to endure suffering for the sake of Christ. This message was and still is a central teaching of the Christian faith.
Encouragement through the Promise:
Jesus encouraged his disciples with the promise of his coming kingdom in glory. Although they did not fully grasp the depth of his words, he gave them hope that they would ultimately see his glory.
Conclusion:
Chapter 45 shows the profound preparation and awareness of Jesus regarding his suffering and his dedication to fulfilling God’s will. It emphasizes the necessity of self-denial and taking up the cross for every follower of Christ. The disciples were prepared for the coming trials while Jesus simultaneously encouraged them with the hope of his ultimate glory. These teachings remain relevant today and inspire believers to remain steadfast in their faith and follow Jesus.

 

 

WEEKLY SPIRIT OF PROPHECY READING – Ellen White | The Desire of Ages Chapter 46: He Was Transfigured
This chapter is based on Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36.
Read online here

 

Comment
Introduction:
Chapter 46 describes the Transfiguration of Jesus, based on accounts from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This episode reveals a significant disclosure of Jesus’ divine nature and provides the disciples with a brief glimpse of heavenly glory.
The Ascent on the Mountain:
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him to a secluded mountain. Although they are exhausted, the disciples follow their Master into the evening hours. The darkness enveloping the mountain symbolizes the sorrow and trials that Jesus and his disciples will soon face.
Jesus’ Prayer:
Jesus moves a short distance from the disciples to bring his concerns and needs before the heavenly Father in prayer. He asks for strength to endure the forthcoming suffering and for a revelation of his glory to strengthen the disciples’ faith. Despite their efforts to stay awake, the disciples are overcome with fatigue and fall asleep.
The Transfiguration:
While Jesus prays, the heavens open, and a holy radiance envelops him. The divine within him shines through his human form, and his appearance becomes as bright as the sun. Moses and Elijah appear and converse with Jesus about his impending death in Jerusalem.
Significance of Moses and Elijah:
Moses represents those who will be resurrected at Christ’s return, while Elijah represents those who will be transformed without experiencing death at Christ’s return. Their presence confirms Jesus’ divinity and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.
The Disciples’ Reaction:
The disciples awaken and are overwhelmed by the heavenly glory. In his enthusiasm, Peter suggests building three shelters to preserve this moment. However, the significance of the Transfiguration lies not in earthly reign but in the confirmation of Jesus’ divine mission, which must pass through the cross.
God’s Voice:
A bright cloud overshadows them, and God’s voice declares, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The disciples fall to the ground in fear until Jesus calms them and helps them up. This experience strengthens their faith and gives them a deeper understanding of Jesus’ identity and mission.
Conclusion:
The Transfiguration is a significant revelation of Jesus’ divine nature and serves to strengthen the disciples’ faith and prepare them for the upcoming sufferings. It shows that Jesus is indeed the Messiah foretold by the prophets and that his suffering and death are part of the divine plan of redemption. The Transfiguration gives the disciples a foretaste of future glory and confirms that Jesus is the Son of God, whom they are to follow.

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