Do you know God sings over you with joy? I am trying to imagine what God sounds like when he is singing. I just can’t, and to further try to imagine His singing being about me just short circuits my synapses. I come back to one question.
Why would he sing over me?
This little scripture is power packed with story. Judah finally had a king in Josiah who was willing seek the ways of God. They had had two kings, Manessah and Amon who were just vile. They had led God’s children, who were so easily “led down the garden path” in spite of the fact the God had proven his love and provision for them over and over again. So Josiah was attempting to reverse the worshiping of Baal and paganism to bring them all back under God’s blessing.
In that time the prophet who was delivering God’s messages to the people was Zephaniah. And if you read the book of Zephaniah, which is, in fact, the message God gave him to deliver to the people, it may be short but much like the above referenced verse, it lays it all out with no frills and is powerful.
The first two chapters are about God letting the people know just what he is going to do to them for disobeying him, and I have to tell you I think this may be where the phrase, “putting the fear of God in” came from. Zephaniah pulls no punches as he explains the day of judgment coming for Judah.
In chapter three there is what I perceive as a pivotal part of the dissertation in verse 3, where Zephaniah says, ” Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” Makes me think, “Okay, so God is maybe going to spare those who have attempted to follow him.” And it also tells us that it wasn’t the whole of Judah turning away from God. There were those who maintained his ways and walked in humility and righteousness.
Finally, in the third chapter we see that God has referenced hope, and in verse 17, not only is there hope for Judah but this scripture speaks to all the generations. In it is not only the promise of forgiveness but so much more.
Do you know God is with you?
It sometimes seem that the limb we are swinging from is one we are on all by ourselves, and rather often we know we have gotten there of our own doing. But sometimes we find ourselves out on a limb swinging away due to someone else’s decisions that have impacted us, and whether the wind is a freezing Nor’easter or a mild Zephyr, the fact that we are out there blowing around on our own renders volume or temperature superfluous. Verse 17 is help in so many words.
The first line is simple, “The Lord your God is with you.” Stop there if you must. That should be enough to help move you to the knowledge that you are not hanging but grasped in the hands of Almighty God, and coupled with his promise from Hebrews 13:5 that he will never leave you or forsake you should give you nothing if not hope that you are not alone.
The second part of verse 17 tells us that God is more than able to rescue us from catastrophe that befalls us. “He is a mighty warrior who saves,” and I don’t know about you, but this living life thing is brutal. When I am promised God, the mighty warrior to save me, I’m going to hold out my arms and await the rescue.
Not only will he rescue us, but “he will delight in us.” He will take great delight in us. Wow. Can’t think of any reason I gave God this week to greatly delight in me. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of any reason, ever, for God to take great delight in me.
And yet the scripture says he does. It is true, this scripture was written specifically to Judah, but these scriptures are prophetic, which means they span time and space. That means the application and lesson may be about a certain time, place, and people, but the meat is for all of God’s children to read and learn from. The story endures for us to experience and learn.
So not only is God with us and delights in us, but the next part of verse 17 says he will “no longer rebuke you in his love.” The NIV Life Application says, “he will quiet you with his love.” This translation speaks to me more, as I find the concept of quiet correlative to rest and solitude. It is generally what I need most when I am at the end of myself, and to think that God’s love can reach out to that which is fractious in me and quiet it with his love, is so very appealing, hopeful, and humbling.
Then the verse says the thing that just blows my mind, “he will rejoice over you with singing.” Seriously? Singing?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t generally struggle with confidence. I know who I am; my strengths and weaknesses, and I will pat myself on the back when I know I have done well at something I have worked for, but I NEVER sing over me. I would not even consider there to be something I have accomplished that would warrant me singing my praises…
So I cannot begin to fathom why God would.
But, then, I don’t think this little line is about accolades and pats on the back. I believe that this little line is about the essence of the creation he made; you. Me. It is the fact that he rejoices over each one of us, because each on of us is his favorite creation and he loves to delight over us. He loves to sing over us, and I firmly believe that he sings blessing, protection, strength, and hope. In fact, I think he sings things over us we do not have vocabulary to define.
God is with you, saves you, delights in you, quiets you with his love, and
God sings over you with joy.