Approximately 750 years after Israel left Egypt, they had a king named Manasseh. We are told that this king “sacrificed his children in the fire… practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger” (2 Chronicles 33:6).
Manasseh ruled for 55 years, and repented of his evil ways before he died. His son Amon took over and continued the child sacrifices, the witchcraft and the spiritism. Amon ruled for just 2 years because he was assassinated by his officials. Amon’s son Josiah was next on the throne and became king at 8 years old.
Zephaniah was a prophet during this dark and horrible period in the history of Judah. A period of child sacrifices, rampant witchcraft, corrupt judges, widespread prostitution and pornography, and abuse of the rights of poor people. Living conditions in Judah and neighboring countries were wicked, horrible, unpleasant.
Zephaniah was loud and direct in preaching about God’s judgement, because he passionately cared to have a better world. This is God’s primary vision for humanity – a better world with no sickness, hunger, pain, or death. At the end of God’s judgement, there is joy, because evil and wickedness have been swept away.
Thus Zephaniah 3:14-15 says: “Sing happily, people of Zion! Shout loudly, Israel! Celebrate and rejoice with all your heart, people of Jerusalem. The Lord has reversed the judgments against you. He has forced out your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is with you. You will never fear disaster again.”
Lord, your will be done, in Jesus name, Amen!