This exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown on September 6, 2020.
“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
This morning I want to ask you: Does your God sing over you?
If we are being honest with our Reformed–Presbyterian selves, the claim that God is singing over us may seem a bit much at first. It sounds a little squishy, kind of suspicious, maybe like something you’d find in one of those poetic devotional type books at Walmart, “In embracing our brokenness we hear Abba Daddy singing shalom over us.”
Right? Sadly, that is where our minds tend to go when someone starts talking about God in this way.
We like to sing imprecatory psalms here.
We tread in Bible passages that other Christians dare not go.
We want preachers that preach the whole counsel of God.
But this same God, according to Zephaniah, tenderly sings over His people. And it is absolutely glorious.
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? Throughout history He has stretched out His saving arm many times, but most precisely and efficaciously, He has done this through His Incarnate Son—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.
And then God responds back 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 not an angry Father, just waiting for us to mess up. No—He is love and He delights in His people with His own praise. Like a father rejoices over a newborn child, our God rejoices over his born-again children, whom He has adopted with everlasting delight.
So I want to ask you again. Does your God sing over you? I just told you that He does, but you need to consider whether you truly believe it.
When you pray to God, when you read the Scriptures, when you sing psalms, when you come to His table—do you see Him rejoicing over you, singing praises? This morning I want to insist that you must.
Our God is tender and kind. He is a good Father, and He loves to sing over His children.