Hovering over the latter part of Zephaniah 3 this morning where Zephaniah speaks of the promise of a future day. A day when all peoples from all nations shall call upon the name of the LORD and serve Him with one accord (3:9).
And, in the midst of this world-wide community of worshipers, there will be a people of particular note (3:11-15).
A people whose shame for their deeds of rebellion has been removed. A people marked by humility and lowliness. A people who seek refuge in the name of the LORD. A people whose hearts and mouths have been cleaned up and made pure so that there is no injustice, no lies, no deceit. A people who are at rest, who eat and feed in safety, “and none shall make them afraid.”
And they are a singing people. People who voice their song with shouting. Who rejoice and exult with all their heart because their judgments have been taken away and their enemies have been defeated. A people who never again fear evil because their King, the LORD, is in their midst.
And while I think that this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled in it’s fullness at a future (but perhaps not too future) day, I can’t help but chew on this vision of divinely purposed transformation, and earthly experienced restoration, and see us, the church.
I think we’re the trailer for this epic spectacle yet to be fully played out on the world’s stage. That we’re the prototype, in all our imperfections, for this jaw-dropping reality. Or said perhaps a bit more biblically, that we’re the firstfruits for this promised harvest.
And if that’s true . . . and I’m thinking it is . . . then let our imaginations run wild as we consider the next words of the prophet’s promise?
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 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 3:16-17 ESV)
If we’re the firstfruits of a yet to be known future reality, then are these words not for us?
We are not to fear. We are to strengthen our hands. Because we know the truth that the LORD our God is in our midst.
At this time of year, in particular, we’re reminded that Jesus walked among us as Immanuel, God with Us. That the Christ embodied the image of the invisible God, in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. And that, though presented as meek and lowly, He came as the Mighty One to save.
And He has never left us. Promising that though He would depart bodily for a time, He would send the Spirit, also fully God, to indwell us so that we might abide in Him and He might abide with us.
O saint rejoice! Sing aloud. Rejoice and exult in Him with all your heart. The LORD our God is in our midst!
If that’s true, know too that He rejoices, as well. That, as amazing as it is to try and conceive, the God of creation also exults over us, even as we exult in Him. What’s more . . . get ready for this . . . know too that the God of our salvation is–perhaps at this very moment–even singing over us.
Do you get that? Not only do we sing to Him, but He sings over us. It’s a duet! An unfathomable, how-can-this-be-happening-to-me, duet.
Our God’s a rejoicing God. Our God’s an exulting God. Our God is a singing God.
How great is our God?
What will it be, in that day when faith gives way to sight and we are in the midst of the One who has redeemed us, to pause for a moment from our worship and in that moment of silence hear a melody sourced in divine pleasure coming from the throne? Quieted by His love, we will bask in the song He sings over us.
What will that be like? I don’t know. I can only imagine.
But it will be, in some sense, a wondrous duet.
I’m going to keep practicing my part now.
By His grace. For His glory.