The Scriptorium

Judgment on Philistia

The Philistines' time had come. Jeremiah 47.1-7

Judgment on the Nations (1): Jeremiah 46-48.17 (4)

Pray Psalm 2.11, 12.
Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Sing Psalm 2.11, 12.
(Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!)
Rejoice with fear in Jesus’ grace,
and worship before His exalted face!
Beware His anger and judgment grim:
How blessed are all who rest in Him!

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 47.1-7.

1. How many different cities or places are mentioned in these verses?

2. How was God going to judge the Philistines?

The Philistines, we know, had been a persistent nemesis to the people of God from the time of Saul and David. Their empire stretched along the Mediterranean coast to the west and south of Israel, then up to Tyre and Sidon in the north, and across to the islands around Crete. They remained a thorn in Israel’s side throughout the time of the united and divided kingdoms. Now that God was determined to judge His own people for their sins, it only made sense that the surrounding nations, who had been complicit in Israel’s decline, should experience His judgment as well. Having proclaimed judgment against Israel’s most ancient enemy, Egypt, God now turned to Philistia.

The mention of so many different locales here shows us something of the extent of the Philistine nation. This message from Jeremiah appears to have been proclaimed prior to Pharaoh Necho’s invasion of the lands to the north and east of Egypt, during the reign of King Josiah in Judah. The Philistine’s would experience hardship when Necho came north like a flood (v. 1), but they would be overwhelmed by the torrent rushing over them from the north – Nebuchadnezzar and the armies of Babylon (vv. 2ff.).

Jeremiah’s brief word is packed with disturbing images – men crying, people wailing, horses and chariots running roughshod over everything, parents abandoning their children in the vain hope of saving themselves, plundering in every city (vv. 2-5). These are the kinds of sorrows the Philistines used to inflict on the people of Israel and Judah. Now their treachery was being turned upon them.

But this was yet for the future (vv. 6, 7). The sword of the Lord was for now – in Josiah’s day – quiet against the Philistines. But it would not remain quiet forever. God had appointed judgment against them; He had charged the Babylonians for this work, and it would surely come to pass.

God has also determined to judge all the nations of the world with the Sword of truth that Jesus bears. At His return, none will escape. Our duty, like Jeremiah, is to proclaim the coming judgment of the Lord and to call people to repent and believe the Gospel while they can. It does not matter that most people will not believe us. We still need to warn them, and to offer the Good News of forgiveness to all who will believe in Jesus.

1. Why is the coming judgment an important part of the Gospel?

2. How can you become more consistent as a witness for the Lord?

3. God has given us the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6.17; Ps. 149.5-9). How does He expect us to wield it?

God will not only command his sword to execute his vengeance, but will also give it a solemn command, and bind it, as it were, by an oath, never to cease from its work until the whole people, and all the cities, and the whole land, should be destroyed together. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 47.7

Help me to wield the Sword of the Spirit today, O Lord, as I…

Pray Psalm 2.1-10.

Pray for the nations of the world, and for lost people everywhere. Pray that God will have mercy on them, and send His witnesses to tell them about Christ. Pray that He will use you as His witness today.

Sing Psalm 2.1-10.
Psalm 2.1-10 (Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!)
Why do the nations vainly rage,
conspiring together from age to age?
Earth’s kings and all of their counselors stand
against the Lord and His Right Hand:

“Now let us cast His yoke below,
His Kingdom authority overthrow!
Throw off His Law, reject His Word;
no more be governed by this Lord!”

The Lord in heaven laughs in wrath
at all who embark on this cursèd path.
His angry Word to them is plain:
“Yet shall My King in Zion reign!”

Proclaim the message far and wide,
that God has exalted the Crucified!
From heav’n He sent us His only Son,
Who has for us salvation won.

To Christ the Lord be given all
who humbly embrace Him and on Him call.
Be wise, be warned: His judgment comes
to break the prideful, sinful ones.

T. M. Moore

You can also now listen to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study. Click here for Jeremiah 43-45. You can also download for free all the weekly studies in this series on the book of Jeremiah by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore