Wednesday, August 22, 2007

God Rejoices Over Us

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)
Many Christians think God is mad at them or sad about them, but the truth is that He is neither — He is glad about us. He is bright and cheerful about us (that is what the Hebrew word for the first “rejoice” means). He rejoices with gladness over us. He whirls and twirls and spins (the meaning of the second “rejoice) over us with singing — literally, with shouts of joy, even creaking. He celebrates over us with wild dancing and jubilation.

Paul tells us that we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). That is, God accepts us in Jesus Christ, His Beloved. When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, the Spirit descended like a dove and the voice of the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). When we were baptized into Jesus Christ, we were baptized into His love, and the voice of the Father said over us what it said over Him: This is My beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” God delighted over us with dancing and singing.

The Lord also quiets us with His love. In context, this demonstrates that God does not remember our sins against us. As He said in another place, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). God silences the memory of that, and so quiets our trepidations before Him with His love. Martin Luther said of this, “He will cause you to be silent so that you may have in the secret places of your heart a very quiet peace and a peaceful silence.” God’s perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

Who is this who rejoices so over us? He is called The Mighty One. Some render it “A mighty one who will save” (ESV, RV), or “Mighty to save” (NIV). The NASB has “A Victorious Warrior.” He is in our midst, not matter what we are going through. Paul said, “In all these things [tribulations, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword] we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

If you know the Lord Jesus, God rejoices over you with singing and dancing. He is mighty in your midst to take care of you in every way, and He will quiet you with His love.

Speaking about baptism, here is a song I wrote about how Christian baptism is a sign of God’s love and acceptance of us into the body of Christ: I Have Been Baptized.