The apostle Peter stated that the Lord is not slack concerning His promises, but is long-suffering not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9). God exercised much restraint and patience with His people as He prepared them for the coming of the Savior. He sent many prophets to warn Israel and Judah of His displeasure with their actions rejecting Him for false gods. Among those prophets was Zephaniah, a great-great grandson of King Hezekiah. Zephaniah brought God’s word to Judah during the times of Manasseh, Amon and probably the early period of Josiah’s reign. He described the mass destruction of Jerusalem and the sinful people of Judah. Idolaters, rulers, merchants and complacent cynics would all feel the wrath of God in that day. Gold and silver of the wealthy would not buy their deliverance.
The prophet urged the people to repent and return to God. Destruction of Judah was certain, but there was still time for the obedient to escape and “be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger.” The remnant who escaped the captivity would be able to return to the coastlands. As other prophets had spoken earlier, Zephaniah reiterated that Assyria and Nineveh, who would be God’s tools for destruction would themselves be brought down because of their dependence upon false gods.
Zephaniah continued to warn Jerusalem of their impending destruction. They had repeatedly ignored and persecuted the prophets who had brought God’s warnings to them. Their leaders had defiled the temple and broken His laws. Even after various calamities had come upon them, they still refused to be obedient. The remnant of righteous that would escape would be restored to God. Eventually, the people would be freed and would return home to their land.