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The God Who Rejoices in You

​”For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

The nation of Judah was in a tight spot and they didn’t even know it. They were living the life they wanted to and most were turning a deaf ear to the prophets’ cries. In the years of King Josiah’s reign, Zephaniah called out the people’s sin: the leaders and judges were like ravenous animals, destroying the people, the prophets were “treacherous,” and the priests “profane the sanctuary and do violence to the Law.” The people in the city were no better, “accepting no correction and not trusting the Lord.” (Zephaniah 3:1-5 NIV)

They were on a path of destruction and didn’t care.

But there was a remnant. A small group of Jews who were “the meek and humble, the remnant of Israel who trust in the name of the Lord. (vs12)” I’m picturing them wishing, like we often do when it feels like the world is falling down around us, that God would just skip to the good part.

Sometimes we receive consequences for our own sin. And sometimes we get the fallout from others. It doesn’t always seem fair, but we need to trust that God is just and these experiences are something that we can grow from. This remnant was going to experience some of that judgment along with the rest of Judah.

​Every parent who disciplines their kids can speak to the pain they feel as they have to carry out consequences. How much more does our Father feel when He delivers instruction and judgment?

In Zephaniah 3, the prophet speaks of the coming judgment for Judah. This judgment wasn’t just a payment for their sins but also a way of purifying. If you feel like you are in the middle of a purifying season, take heart. This is not coming from a God who despises and hates, but from a God who loves.

After the purifying, Zephaniah speaks these words of comfort to the faithful of Judah (vs 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.”

Can you see it?

​After the consequences, comes the comfort. God does not want to leave us to fend for ourselves. He sees our hurt and pain and wants to save us from our sin. 

​He is our “Mighty Warrior who saves.” Because He loves us, He instructs us and because He loves us, He shows us compassion. There may be discipline and judgment, but only for the purifying of our hearts, not because of vindication.

God does not want to continue to berate us. In fact, He wants to rejoice over us! Our God is a God who desires to comfort His creation and sing songs of gladness over us. If you are feeling far from God, seek out His word. Ask Him to root out any sin in you and come to Him in repentance. You will find a just, kind, forgiving Father who longs to quiet you with His love and sing songs of gladness over you.

Father, at the root of much sin is pride. Forgive me for the times that I think I know better than you. For when I don’t think I deserve the consequences of my own actions. I know you are a God of mercy and love, who rejoices in your children. I come to you with a heart that desires a closer walk with you. Open my eyes to the sin that is keeping me from that. I pray that I would receive your mercy and grace and would know that love that calms all fears.

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