“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 3:17)
When we read the Old Testament we learn much about God. Sometimes we are such New Testament people that we inadvertently neglect the vast realities we can learn regarding the nature and character of God and therevelation he gives of Himself regarding His heart. We see God’s desire for Israel to turn to Him and return to Him when they are wayward. We see the chastising hand of discipline that God brings against His people in love so that they might not sin but rather rejoice in God’slovingkindness (Hesed in Hebrew). Paul tells us about thethings we read in the Old Testament saying, “Now these things took place as examples for us…” (1 Corinthians 10:6a)
In this passage the prophet is talking about the restoration of His people after their waywardness and sin. He is looking forward to the time when there will be the fruition of all that God is working towards through them and what He is going to do in the nations. Embedded within this passage we see a glimpse of the heart of God towards His people. This is the heart of God towards the people He loves. That same heart is directed towards you and me! God has not changed.
Listen to how Jude puts it describing us as believers, “To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” (Jude 1:1-2 emphasis added) Paul says this to the Romans: “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7 emphasis added) The Bible tells us that those who have come to faith through Jesus Christ are now “in Christ” and loved by God the Father in a very particular and special way. You are the object of His affection in Christ and He thinks well of you.
Think about what the prophet Zephaniah reveals about the heart of God the Father. Your heavenly Father rejoices over you with gladness. You, who you are, bringsjoy and rejoicing to your Heavenly Father. Your life makes Him glad. The singing is the loud spontaneous singing of one who sees the object of His love and it stirs his heart to break into song. Your heavenly Father sings over you.
I was meeting a friend recently who didn’t see mecoming as I was walking up to him. When he finally looked up from his book and saw me walking up there was a twinkle in his eye and a smile broke over his face. I thought to myself, he’s just happy to see me. Just my presence here brings him joy. Now magnify that by 10,000 and that is just a glimpse of the love your heavenly Father has for you. Your heavenly Father is not a distant God who stands aloof and looks down on you with perpetual disappointment. Your heavenly Father is not a God who needs to be persuaded by His Son to love you. For God the Father so love the world He gave Hisonly Son. It was the love of your heavenly Father that sent Jesus to die on the cross for you so that you will have an intimate daily relationship with Him.
All things that God does towards His children aremotivated by the deep, intimate love He has for them. He is for your good in Christ. He desires to see you walk intimately with Him and His disposition is unchanging because His love is perfect. Receive the love God the Father already has for you!