September 23

Reading: Jeremiah 47

     1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines, before Pharaoh struck down Gaza.

2 “Thus says the LORD:

     Behold, waters are rising out of the north,

     and shall become an overflowing torrent;

     they shall overflow the land and all that fills it,

     the city and those who dwell in it.

     Men shall cry out,

     and every inhabitant of the land shall wail.

 3 At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his stallions,

     at the rushing of his chariots, at the rumbling of their wheels,

     the fathers look not back to their children,

     so feeble are their hands,

4   because of the day that is coming to destroy all the Philistines,

     to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper that remains.

     For the LORD is destroying the Philistines,

     the remnant of the coastland of Caphtor.

5   Baldness has come upon Gaza;

     Ashkelon has perished.

     O remnant of their valley,

     how long will you gash yourselves?

6   Ah, sword of the LORD!

     How long till you are quiet?

     Put yourself into your scabbard;

     rest and be still!

7   How can it be quiet

     when the LORD has given it a charge?

     Against Ashkelon and against the seashore

     he has appointed it.”

 

Jeremiah 47 is a prophesy against Gaza from before the Egyptians and then Babylonians swept through in brutal destruction.  Gaza, and the strip along the Mediterranean Sea, is the traditional home of the Philistines from even before the conquest of the land under Joshua.

Why is God so upset at these Philistines for not supporting Israel when Israel initially attacked them and has been their enemy?  One might wonder what He expects of these people.  Should they just submit to the rule of Israel?  Should they just acknowledge the right of Israel to exist and rule over them?  Should they just leave all their gods and worship Yahweh?

The answer to all those questions is “Yes!”

Why?  It is because God is God and what He says ought to be accepted and obeyed by all peoples.  God has given the promised land to His people.  We might see this as unfair.  But this is the most important fact about the land and all the disputes around it, even to this day.  God’s word is fact.

Therefore, they are under God’s judgment for their failure to support and defend Israel and Judah.  God is sending Babylon from the north, with their chariots and horses, armed sharp swords, and misery will come upon the inhabitants of Gaza.  God reigns supreme.