Zephaniah 3:17 “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.”
I can’t off hand recall any other place in the Bible where it talks about God singing! The image here is actually very tender and intimate, and at the same time it is filled with deep joy. When you think about it, God didn’t create us just to give Himself headaches! We are created to give God joy, and the more we do that, the more His joy washes back over us. I like the Japanese translation a bit better than the NIV. In Japanese it says, “He will enjoy you with joy. He will give you rest by His love.” Somehow I prefer being given rest to simply being quieted! Any time I run into a prophecy like this I am reminded that God, being outside of time, sees everything at once, in sharp contrast to how we experience time as something linear. That’s why prophecies of blessing and prophecies of judgment are equally valid. In a sense they’re all happening at once. That’s why Peter, even though He was an uneducated fisherman, could have the insight that “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) We can have God’s rest even in the middle of a severe trial! The better we understand God’s love for us, His delight in us, the more we experience His joy and peace, that are indeed beyond the capacity of human intellect to explain. (Philippians 4:7)
I will never forget one time when I was in a little four-person prayer meeting and I experienced such intense joy that I literally had to ask God to tone it down a little bit, because I felt that with one more drop of joy, my body would give up and I would be transferred directly to heaven. My prayer was something like, “Lord, if You have anything else for me to do here, You’d better take it down a bit.” I guess he did have more for me to do here! I’ve not been to heaven and come back, the way my wife has, but that experience gave me enough of a taste of what awaits me that I’m eager to go. That said, I’m not about to dictate the schedule. The thing for me to do now is to focus on faithfulness, being and doing what God desires as He enables me, delighting in Him so that He may delight in me. As David discovered, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)
Father, thank You for all the joy You do provide, and for choosing to delight in me. Thank You for the understanding You have grown in me of Your timing, and how You are never late. I can get so tied in knots over timing! Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, so that I won’t miss anything of what You have planned involving me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!