ACK in March we read Jeremiah 36 and found both God and His prophet using the phrase "may be" in relation to the potential for repentance in Judah (Jeremiah 36:3 & 7). David expressed the same sentiment in 2nd Samuel 12:22 in reference to the possibility of God's mercy concerning his son. Solomon used the "who knows" mentality several times in the book of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 6:12 & 8:7). In Jonah 3:9, we read that the Assyrian king of Nineveh had a humble and hopeful perspective, which proved to be rather productive for him and for his people. Here in Zephaniah 2:3 we encounter this "maybe we get mercy" thing once more. There must be something rather significant that God is trying to teach us with all of this.
As we saw in the previous chapter, Zephaniah preached some hellfire and damnation messages. However, just like in Jonah 3:9 we find here in Zephaniah 2:3 that even though the door of God's mercy is portrayed as slamming shut, the door is ajar, or at least unlocked. Even though great wrath is planned, there is still hope (Ecclesiastes 9:4). Doesn't God have eternal purposes? Yes, He does! Still, if we will be meek and seek the Lord, there is a very real possibility that He will show mercy. Does He already know what He will and won't do? He does. But, we don't! And from our perspective, the future is in our hands. God has made decisions based upon His infinite and eternal knowledge (1st Peter 1:2 and Titus 1:1), but don't imagine that our decisions aren't real or that consequences aren't in limbo. These "maybes" in the Bible remind us that God's mercy does hang all around us like unpicked fruit. If we starve spiritually, it won't be due to God's preferences, it will be due to our own.