There’s a verse in Zephaniah that I have known for years. Not because I’m a particularly good student of the prophets but because it was one of the early Scripture “praise choruses” that were popular back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I remember having cassettes ( . . . pre-iTumes . . . pre-CD . . . think Walkman . . . ) where all the songs were directly taken from Scripture . . . that’s where some of my initial exposure to the Old Testament came from. Technically, verses taken out of context . . . emotionally, a wonderful way to sing praise to our God. That’s where this verse in Zephaniah first hit my radar. But it’s been in the last couple of years that this verse has shifted from the “warm and fuzzy” of a praise chorus to the awe and wonder of insight into the nature of our God . . .
The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)
Specifically it foretells a day when God has restored Zion . . . when Israel has been both spiritually and physically renewed . . . when the nation is a given a new name by her God . . . when she is called Hephzibah, “My Delight Is in Her” . . . when her land is called Beulah, “Married” (Isa. 62:4). Covenant relationship restored . . . God delighting in His ancient chosen people . . . “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isa. 62:5). And in that restored relationship . . . “The King of Israel, is in your midst” (Zeph. 3:15b) . . . in that day, they will know the presence of God in a way unlike any other during the history of the earth.
So, while not meant for the church directly, I’m thinking there’s latitude for a bit of application . . . after all, the church is said to be the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:31-32) . . . and “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching” (2Tim. 3:16). So what do I learn about God . . . and about how He views His people?
God delights in His own . . . He desires to be in found in their midst . . . He experiences a joy and gladness from such communion . . . His longs to pour out His love on His people and, in so doing, bring upon them a calming hushed joy . . . and . . . this is the one that sets my mind spinning . . . My God exults over His people with singing. God sings!
O that God would take such pleasure in communion with His creation that He would sing is a bit mind boggling for me. We are the ones who should be singing . . . should be rejoicing . . . should be praising the Name of the One who redeemed us through the blood of His Son . . . making melody to Him who, by His immeasurable grace, has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3) . . . lifting loud voices of exaltation to the Father who has made us joint heirs with Christ, “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1Peter 1:3-4). Reason for us to sing? I’m thinkin’!
But it is God, as well, who sings over His people . . . who delights in them . . . who rejoices over them. Do I fully get it? Not really. Am I moved by it? Absolutely!
At this time of year we think much of angels singing . . . hovering over the earth declaring the birth of the Savior . . . “Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices”. If the thought of angelic beings in song should drive us to our knees, what of the insight that our God sings over us with loud singing? My first reaction might be that of Peter, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8) . . . but the Spirit whispers, “You have been bought with a price . . . you have been robed with Another’s righteousness . . . you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus . . . let Him delight over you with singing.”
Sing O’ Lord! For Your glory alone . . .