This verse will steal your breath. It might even make you blush.
Oh, the things God has in store for you! His beloved, his bride.
“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.” Zephaniah 3:17
Wow. No wonder Annette confessed, “I love this verse. It’s a constant reminder that I am important to God.”
So easy to forget that, isn’t it? Whenever the truth of God’s love is yanked from our grasp by a culture that focuses on the negative and majors in being cynical, it’s time to dive into his Word and be refreshed.
“The Lord your God is with you,… Zephaniah 3:17
This is everything we need to know: his name, his relationship with us, and the assurance of his presence. The God of the universe, the one who claimed you long before you claimed him, is “in your midst” (LEB). I’m telling you, he’s “right there with you” (CJB). Right. There.
Just because we can’t see him doesn’t make God any less real. I’m gazing out my living room window at a glorious stream of sunlight pouring across our lawn. Hidden in the trees, a dozen birds are carrying on a musical conversation, while a soft breeze ruffles the summer-green leaves on our old maple.
All of creation points to our Creator. He is real, his works are tangible, and he is here.
He is “present among you” (MSG) all the time. “Living among you” (NLT), day in and day out. The enemy will try to convince you that God has forgotten you, neglected you, abandoned you, turned his back on you, but that’s simply not possible.
The Lord your God is with you. If those were the only words in the Bible, they would be enough. But he gave us so much more.
“…the Mighty Warrior who saves.” Zephaniah 3:17
He’s not idly standing around, this God of ours. He’s fighting our battles. And he’s winning. Our “powerful soldier” (ERV), our “hero” (GW), our “savior” (NLT) never grows weary, never lays down his weapons, celebrating “victory after victory” (CEV) on our behalf.
When you feel defeated, exhausted, depleted, it’s time to step back and give God room in your life to wage war against your enemies. Rest assured—I mean truly rest—knowing “his power gives you victory” (GNT), his “strength shall deliver thee” (KNOX), and he is “the champion who will rescue you” (VOICE).
Nowhere in the Bible are we told, “save yourself.” We can’t do it, try as we might.
God alone rescues. God alone saves.
When Jaimee chose this verse, she said, “In my battle to subdue my insecurities and fears, this verse has become my lifeline!”
Hold on tight, dear one, knowing he will never let go. Never.
“He will take great delight in you;…” Zephaniah 3:17
All at once, the imagery shifts from a strong, mighty warrior to a tender-hearted suitor. Matthew Henry wrote, “God not only loves his saints, but he loves to love them.”
When you’re deeply in love, you think of that person around the clock, yes? You cherish each moment you have together. Your beloved’s face, voice, smile brightens your day. No one matters more to you.
That’s how God feels about you. Not because you are always lovable, but because he is always loving.
“…in his love he will no longer rebuke you,…” Zephaniah 3:17
Okay, I’m just going to say it: I’m not crazy about this translation. Right in the middle of all this love-soaked language comes the sharp word rebuke. Most English translations don’t go there. Instead, they promise, “he will quiet you by his love” (ESV), or “create calm with his love” (CEB), or “rest in his love” (ASV).
The original Hebrew isn’t much help, offering several different meanings for the verb, charash. It all adds up to this: God will hold his peace. He will keep your faults to himself, rather than naming them one by one. “In His love He will be silent and make no mention of past sins, or even recall them” (AMP).
Okay. Now we get it.
When I hold my tongue, rather than scold my husband about leaving his dirty socks on the floor—again—that’s love.
And if my husband doesn’t say a word when a mail-order package arrives from Jessica London—again—that’s love.
Small love, next to God’s love, yet proof that silence is golden.
Quietly, gently, “he will calm all your fears” (NLT) and “give you new life” (NLV) and “show you his love once again” (WYC).
Ocieanna (beautiful name) wrote, “I can’t count how many times this verse has pulled me up and out of the pit of guilt and condemnation and into the joy of the Lord.”
Yes, yes. And this next bit puts me right over the top.
“…but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
God sings. Over us. Oh my.
And it’s not just a metaphor. There are notes involved. “He celebrates and sings because of you” (CEV) and will “delight you with his songs” (MSG). Clearly this is something the Lord enjoys doing, because he promises to “laugh and be happy” (ERV) as he lets loose “shouts of joy” (GW).
Your worthiness, your goodness, your faithfulness isn’t even mentioned here. God loves you because he chooses to. God loves you because it gives him pleasure to do so.
The subject line for my latest Encouragement to Go newsletter was, “Have I told you lately that God loves you?” That’s what this verse tells us—spilling over with joy, filling the air with music. Here’s the whole of it in an exuberant translation that helps us hear his love song:
“The Lord your God
wins victory after victory
and is always with you.
He celebrates and sings
because of you,
and he will refresh your life
with his love.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NET)
Now it’s your turn:
Does the thought of the Lord singing over you make you smile? tremble? weep? What words would you most want to hear him sing? And how do you imagine that music might sound?
To share your thoughts, add your response under Post a Comment below. Bless you for taking a moment to share what’s on your heart.
Next time we’ll step back into the Psalms and unpack #6 of the verses you love most. Only a few words, but wow, wow, wow.
Your sister, Liz