“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, ESV)
Those of you who read yesterday’s post know this has been a busy week. Christi’s slowly getting better following her concussion on Monday, and we appreciate your prayers.
I wrote last week that I usually have my sermons finished on Thursday so I can spend the rest of the weekend praying for and over the message. Well, its 12:30 Friday morning and still nothing is written.
Here’s the thing: There’s too much in this passage for me to even begin to preach it fairly. I weep just thinking about it. That my God loves me so much, he would come to the middle of my messed up life – where my priorities are so out of whack, my affections are all centered around myself, where my pride and selfishness try to quench every flame of the Spirit – that God should show me such love is unimaginable.
I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve that God should remove the injustice I have done and the deceitful tongue from my mouth, that He should cover my sins with the righteousness of His beloved Son.
I don’t deserve the joy I know in His peace and forgiveness. Too often, I abuse His peace with a lazy and slothful devotion to God, I treat His forgiveness as license to sin even more. Other times, when overcome by a new sense of committment to the Lord, I fall deeper into despair because I know that I cannot possibly live up the standards of rigorous service before the Lord (inspired by Baxter, Edwards, McChayne, even Piper, and Chan) and I am racked with guilt over how I have let God down with my life. I should be doing more, right?
Yet the Lord is with me in this mess, in the middle of all my misplaced affections and misfiring devotions. My savior is mighty to save, mightier, even, than myself and all of the obstacles I seem to want to throw in His way. God’s even able to support me as He weans me from the things I thought were so important: the need to feel validated, important, right; the struggle to appear strong, unmoved, self-reliant. Instead, I am learning to be content in all things, because in all things I know that the Lord is with me. I am learning to delight in the Lord, and have found Him (not all the other trappings of religion, politics, or success) to be the desire of my heart.
I delight myself in God, and find Him rejoicing over me!
He is rejoicing over me – exulting over me (and not just me, all who call upon Him) with singing. Not how about that. God is singing over me. I like to sing. I like to sing to God. I like to, when no one else is listening (or at least not close enough for me to hear them complain) pull out the guitar and sing my praises to God. But God is already singing over me. How often do I stop to listen, to revel in, to soak up, God’s love song over me? How often do you?
His love will quiet you – His love will quiet me. Just dwelling on His love for me in Christ, how He rescued me when I was lost in sin, how He cleansed me from my guilt by His precious blood, how He delivered me from death by dying for me, how He gave His Spirit that I might trust in and walk in holiness with Him – that love, before it makes me sing – quiets my soul. It moves me to tears, tears of joy and I rejoice in the love of God, as I delight in Him who delights in me.
Brothers and sisters, may you to know this love. “Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you (He will be) the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).