Read: Zephaniah 3:9-20
Key Verse: v17:
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
What Does it Mean?
There’s an amazing picture of God’s tender care and provision in this passage. We’re reminded that even when we walk away from God, He has compassion towards us and will welcome us back into His presence, with grace, mercy and forgiveness. And in His presence, we have no reason to fear or have anxiety about what’s going on around us. He doesn’t always take us out of the storm, but He comforts us in the midst of it.
Verse 17 is an often quoted verse, and when you read it and absorb it, it’s easy to see why it’s so well remembered. In just one verse we can find comfort and security that transcends our outward circumstances. The picture painted in this verse is of a God who is not distant or uninterested in His children, but who is in the midst of them. The Hebrew word translated ‘with you’ in the NIV means midst, middle, interior, inner part, inner being – it is used frequently in the Old Testament to describe the inner being of the person, regarded as the home of the heart from which the emotions spring. When we think of this verse in that context, we can understand how God’s presence is able to strengthen and comfort us both inside and out. More than that, we read that God takes great delight in us. This word means great joy and delight, jubilant celebration. It’s a very active kind of response. God is more than just interested in us – we bring Him joy. In addition, God rejoices over us with singing. This reminds me of the way a mother will comfort a fretful child by singing lullabies over them. We should be able to draw a great deal of comfort from understanding just how active and involved God is with us, not just in the storms, but all the time.
Not only is God always with us in the midst of all our circumstances, both good and bad, but He saves us, delights in us, loves us, and rejoices over us. When we feel alone in the raging storms of life, we can find comfort in the promise that we are never truly alone. Our mighty warrior God, who flung the stars into the sky and knows them each by name, stands shoulder to shoulder with us always, comforting and strengthening us with the power of His love.
Journaling and Reflection
- Re-read verse 17. What word or phrase most resonates with you? How does it make you feel? Why?
- Can you imagine God singing you a lullaby when you are feeling anxious and unsure? How does this make you feel?
- Does verse 17 change the way you think about or view God’s intimacy with His children? In what way?
Father God, thank You that You are not a distant nor uninterested God, but instead You delight in Your children and rejoice over us. Help me to be more open to receiving Your comfort and strength, and grow in me a deeper understanding of Your love for me. Amen.