Daily Devotional

"The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” 
- Zephaniah 3:17

I’m not being humble when I say that I’m a horrible singer.  I have virtually no musical talent.  So when I worship the Lord, my goal is that the song in my heart will sound better than the song that comes out of my mouth.

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like to hear God singing?  If you don’t picture God as a singing-God, Zephaniah 3:17 needs to reshape your theology.  God is quite fond of singing.  In fact, he created it.  Music is an expression of his creative genius, and I like to think of Zephaniah 3:17 as one of his greatest love songs.
The prophet recorded these words around 630 BC, and chapter 3 looks forward to the Jewish exiles coming home from the foreign countries where they had been dispersed, worshiping once again in Jerusalem.  In verse 14, God invites his people to sing, shout, be glad and rejoice.  Then in verse 17, he joins their song!  It begins with praise rising up to God and ends with a divine melody raining down on God’s people.

If you look at verse 17 closely, you’ll see three parallel statements that portray God’s loving response to his adoring people.

  • He will rejoice over you with gladness.

The Hebrew word for “rejoice” means “to display joy over.”  In other words, it refers to an expression or demonstration of joy.  It’s interesting that the root meaning of the word is literally “to leap.”  It was used in extra-biblical literature to describe the leaping of horses.  I think the idea is that the kind of joy God feels for his people moves him to express his love for us.  It leaps out of him.  And it’s a joy that is connected with his “gladness” in us.  So here’s an idea.  Say this to yourself five times today: “God delights in me.  God rejoices over me.  I bring gladness to his heart.”

  • He will quiet you with his love.

The second way God responds to his adoring people is by quieting us with his love.  This is an amazing picture of God holding us like a child in his arms and soothing us.  Like a mother comforting her crying child, God quiets us with his love.  This image is so tender that the verse has been called “the John 3:16 of the Old Testament.”

  • He will rejoice over you with singing.

Last but not least, Zephaniah tells us that God rejoices over us with singing, and he uses a different word for “rejoice” than in the previous sentence – a word that’s even more vivid than leaping horses.  The root of the Hebrew verb means to dance… literally to circle or spin around, moved by a powerful emotion.
Isn’t that a mind-blowing thought?  God loves you so much that he dances over you with delight.  He sings over you with a heavenly shout.  The Jerusalem Bible translates this plainly: “He will dance with shouts of joy for you.”

Again, how does this image of God’s love strike you?  Does it seem undignified or out of character for a holy God?  Does it make you feel awkward or uncomfortable or unworthy?  Or does it make you want to leap for joy like a horse and spin around with excitement?

There’s a reason why this great verse has been called the John 3:16 of the Old Testament.  If you have a hard time believing that God loves you so much he would sing and dance over you, let this verse rejuvenate your heart and reshape your theology. 
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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