Most often, it occurs to me, I think of praise as a solo. This morning I’m wondering if, at least sometimes, I should be thinking of it more as a duet. For the most part I think of praise as “one way” . . . as God’s people offering up “the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15). When I think of rejoice and lifting up of loud voices, it’s the bride extolling the Groom . . . the sheep declaring the wonder of the Shepherd . . . the body humbly acknowledging it’s Head. But then I come across Zephaniah and am reminded that sometimes God sings back . . . that it’s a duet.
“Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’ ” (Zephaniah 3:14-17)
Ok . . . so I know I’m in “application mode”. Strict interpretation concerns a future day when the returning King puts down His enemies and establishes His earthly home . . . when He restores to the people a pure language and they all call upon the name of the Lord (3:8-9) . . . when gathered to His holy mount is a remnant, a meek and humble people trusting in the name of the Lord (3:12). This passage deals with a future time . . . a future promise . . . a future reality for God’s ancient people. But I’m still thinking it reflects something of the reality of God’s disposition towards the “special people”, the “chosen generation”, the “holy nation” which declares the praise of Him who called them out of darkness, that I’m part of (1Peter 2:9). And if it does . . . then it’s a duet!
Think of it. God’s people singing . . . His own shouting . . . glad and rejoicing in heart . . . hands lifted high (well, figuratively speaking for us conservative types) . . . praise flowing from hearts and lips that are crazy in love with Him who first loved us . . . thankful for blessings and a hope that really is beyond fully knowing this side of heaven. We look heavenward . . . we turn, as it were, our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face . . . and we sing with loud voices of the wonder and glories of the King. Our own attempt at a command performance before Him who is worthy of praise. Think of it. But then think too of Him singing back!
The Lord our God is in our midst . . . we are a dwelling place for God through His Spirit (Eph. 2:22). And He too is rejoicing over us with gladness . . . thrilled with those redeemed from destruction by the blood of His Son . . . ecstatic as He views trophies of His amazing grace. And that rejoicing isn’t something that He keeps in . . . uh, uh . . . He will rejoice over you with singing. God sings! And the original would indicate that it’s not some humming under His breath but that it is loud singing . . . shouting singing . . . at the top of His lungs singing. And the subject? . . . it’s “over you” . . . over His people. Unreal!!!
I’m a sucker for romantic duet’s . . . love songs between a couple as they gaze into one another’s eyes . . . voices in beautiful harmony . . . declaring words of adoration, faithfulness, and commitment . . . kind of brings a tear to your eye. What will it be like when this duet that we enjoy with God “by faith” . . . when this duet, that we see but now as “in a mirror dimly” (1Cor. 13:12) . . . when this duet will be face to face? We in His midst . . . the Lord our God in ours. We, lifting our voices in thunderous heartfelt wonder and appreciation, and He, rejoicing over us with gladness and with singing.
Oh, that I by faith might “hear” His song even today . . . that I might enter into the wonder of a duet with the God in our midst . . . for my joy . . . for His glory . . . amen.