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. (Zephaniah 3v17)
Do you feel like singing?
Whether we feel like singing or not depends a great deal on our circumstances. When life is good and all is going well, it can be easy to feel as if there is a song in your heart and a spring in your step. But when life is hard, when things are going badly, when all is far from well, the idea of singing and making music is about as far from our desires as we can think to be.
Singing taps into something deep and powerful in our understanding of who we are and how life is going. I particularly like this quotation from the novelist Victor Hugo:
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
Or as the singer and songwriter Enya put it:
Music is like a mirror in front of you. You’re exposing everything…
Whether we feel like singing depends a great deal on how we feel about ourselves. If that’s true of whether we want to sing ourselves, how much more must it be true about whether someone else wants to sing to us or about us.
I don’t know whether you have ever had a song sung to you, and only you. Or whether you have had a song written specifically for you, or about you. It’s very powerful to hear musicians sing songs about the depth of their love for another person, and be willing to do that in public, have it recorded and played everywhere.
And yet, there is a Bible verse – Zephaniah 3 verse 17 – that tells of a song that has been written about each one of us. It’s the most tender of love songs, and the most amazing part is that the singer is God himself.
A Bible teacher once said that they read the Bible until they come to a verse that could bear their whole weight – and then they would stop and ponder it. I like that phrase, and I certainly think this is a verse that bears our weight and bears pondering on.
The verse tells us: “He will take great delight in you.” Just think on that for a moment. He – that is the Lord your God – takes great delight. And who does he take great delight in? Not simply the rich and the powerful and the influential. It is not only the kings and queens, the presidents and prime ministers that God delights in. He takes great delight in you. He knows you by name. He knows every facet of your life. And he takes great delight in you. And he expresses that in song.
Here is the Lord God, maker of all things and ruler of all things. He spoke the entire universe into being and keeps it going every second with his powerful word. His voice is mighty and immense, able to call stars and plants into place; when he says “Let there be light”, light appears from nowhere. And he uses his voice to sing – and to sing about you and about me.
While I am sure the God’s song described here is very tuneful, we must not get the sense that it is quiet or reserved. Far from it. The word used is that of a shout that rings out for miles; a battle cry!
I’m British and I’m a guy, so that means I find it difficult to express my emotions easily. If you are from another country you might have found that immensely irritating in British people! However, although I’m usually reserved, I’m not when it comes to watching my chosen sports team – the Denver Broncos. If I get to see them live, then I will jump and shout and holler! And if they win, well I will go crazy and dance around if I can get away with it!
My friends that is a flavour of the passion God has for us here in this verse. God delights in us and rejoices over us in song. Not a lullaby but a celebration! God goes crazy over you and me, singing and shouting over the unique person he has created, the person he has loved, the person he delights in. Try to remember that today and never forget it.