Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. – Acts 3:19
Before getting into the warnings of Zephaniah to the people of Judah, let’s look at the back story of King Josiah. His story begins in 2 Kings 22.
Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem for 31 years.
He followed God’s ways and was not afraid to do what was right.
When Josiah was 26 years old he assigned workers to begin restoration of the temple.
In the process of restoring the temple, the high priest, Hilkiah found the Book of the Law (Genesis – Deuteronomy). It had been disregarded for so many years during the reign of evil kings that no one knew where it was, let alone reference it.
Once the Book of the Law was brought to Josiah’s attention, he tore his clothes in despair. – 2 Kings 22:11 He then sent the high priest, the court secretary, and his personal advisor to the temple to speak to the Lord for him, the people, and all of Judah.
Although Josiah’s understanding of the scroll was limited, he did believe that the Lords’s anger is burning against us (people of Judah) because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in the scroll, and not doing the things the scroll says to do. – 2 Kings 22:13b
Sure enough, Josiah was correct about God’s anger with the people. After consulting the prophetess Huldah, Josiah received this message from God – You, Josiah, were sorry and humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I said against this city and its people, that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. So I have indeed heard you, says the LORD. I will not send the promised disaster against this city until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this place. – 2 Chronicles 34:27
And so would begin the repentance and restoration of Judah and Jerusalem.