“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
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 3:14-17).
Does your God sing over you?
If we are being honest with our Protestant-Reformed-Presbyterian selves, the claim that God is singing over us may seem a bit uncomfortable at first. It sounds a little squishy, like something a worship leader would say, right before she belts out her well-rehearsed spontaneous tongues. God – you are singing over your people – shalalala. Or maybe something its something you’d come across in one of those homey and poetic devotional type books for women, “In embracing our brokenness we hear Abba singing shalom over us.”
Right? Sadly, that is where our minds may tend to go when someone starts talking about God in this way. But this is what God says about himself, through the prophet Zephaniah. And it is glorious. It is pure and refreshing grace being poured on our heads. And it should bring great comfort to our hearts.
In this passage, we are commanded to, “Sing aloud! Shout! Rejoice and exult with all your heart!”
And why are we to do this? It is in response to what the Lord has done for us: He has “taken away the judgments against us” and “cleared away our enemies.” He is the King who dwells with His people so that we never have to “fear evil again.”
And when has God done these things for His people? Well, throughout history He has stretched out His saving arm many times, but most precisely and efficaciously, He has done this through His Incarnate Son. He has done this in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
God in Christ is the mighty one who will save. Christ, Immanuel, is the one that has stepped into our midst and has taken away the judgments against us. And we respond in exuberant praise of thanksgiving and joy.
God saves us because in Christ He loves us. And He responds to our praise by “rejoicing over us in gladness, quieting us by His love, and exulting over us with loud singing.” He is not a stoic, distant god. He is love. He delights in His people with His own praise.
He rejoices over us as a father rejoices over his children. Picture a father rejoicing over a newborn child, cradling them in his arms, knowing that they would do anything to protect and provide for this new little one. Like that, the Lord rejoices over his born-again children whom He adopted with everlasting delight.
So I want to ask you again. Does your God sing over you? Does He? I just told you that He does, but I want to know if you truly believe that. When you pray to God, when you read the Scriptures, when you sing psalms, when you are being disciplined by God, when you remember His salvation, do you see Him exulting over you, singing praises?
This morning I want to insist that you must. You must have a category in your head and in your heart for this kind of God. He is our good Father, and He loves to sing over His children.