Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Zephaniah
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
So often people – either those who don’t know the Lord, or those who do, but have a legalistic view of the Lord God as ONLY a Judge – find it difficult to see the Lord God as a loving and compassionate Father. Hey, let’s not be ignorant to the truth that the Father is also, Holy, Righteous, and Just. As we read in Habakkuk 1:13 that the Lord’s “eyes are too pure to look at evil”, in other words, the Lord God is NOT this sweet and happy hippie who is just prancing around the universe tickling everyone and tolerating, permitting and endorsing every godless and rebellious act or attitude that those who don’t worship Him are committing. As Genesis 18:25 reminds us, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” The answer is, “Yes, He WILL do right!”
BUT, when we come to faith by God’s grace and now understand better (as He reveals Himself to us), we come to realize that even if we had poor examples of parents – especially fathers – the Lord God Almighty is a Loving, Gracious, Merciful, and Compassionate Father, who will never abandon us; never treat us harshly (but because He loves us, He will discipline us when necessary); will never forget His promises to us; and will finish the work that HE started in us.
And speaking of this perfect Father: what is it that every child wants from its father? They want to know they are loved; and often that love is shown or expressed by the attention, affection, acceptance, and the special care that only a father can give. Before we came to a saving faith in Christ and were then enabled by the Spirit within us to love the Triune God (who first loved us), we were enemies; aliens; strangers; rebels; orphans; and independent agitators to the character, nature, purposes, will, and ways of the Lord God.
Maybe I ought to just quote what Paul said to Titus the pastor:
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7
So, that takes us to our beautiful verse that is written TO THOSE WHO, BY FAITH AND GRACE, HAVE CALLED ON HIS NAME. And what does Zephaniah tell us?
If we know the Lord – if we have come to faith in Him by His grace, then:
- The Lord our God is with us: you will never be spiritually alone. He is “Immanuel – God with us”. I love the fact that I am never alone (Joshua 1:9); He will stick closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). He will never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5).
- He is mighty to save. Save in the Old Testament often meant more than the spiritual salvation that we are accustomed to thinking of in the New Testament, but it means the same thing. In the Old Testament ‘saved’ meant to be delivered or rescued from their enemies. Well, when we talk about spiritual salvation we too are talking about being delivered and rescued from our enemies: the devil, death, our sinful nature, the wrath of God, and the world. As we read in Jonah 2:9, “Salvation is of the Lord”. He saves us; we don’t save ourselves or help Him save us (Ephesians 2:8-9). God and God alone will spiritually raise us up on that Last Day (John 6:40).
- He will take great delight in us! Wow! Just stop and think about that for a moment. The Lord doesn’t just ‘tolerate’ us; He doesn’t just ‘put up with us’. He DELIGHTS in us! We read in Psalm 149:4 that “the Lord takes pleasure in His people”! And Proverbs 3:12 we read that the Lord actually delights in His child when they accept His righteous and loving discipline! And to show you what a loving Father we have, according to Micah 7:18, the Lord actually DELIGHTS to show His children mercy! What a delight to know that our Lord delights in us!
- He will quiet us with His love. When we get anxious; worried, start to grumble; become fearful or discouraged; when we can’t figure out what direction our life is going and we get angry and frustrated and come to our wits end; our Father calms us – quiets us – holds us tight – and whispers into our hearts that He loves us and He will take care of those worries, and fears, and discouragements. We read in 1 Peter 5:7 that we are “to cast all our anxieties upon Him, because He cares for us”. What a beautiful promise! When a baby is upset and crying, a father holds that baby close to his heart and gently rocks him or her, whispering into their ears that all is well. I love that image.
- He will rejoice over you with singing. Now that’s not something you see everyday! God Almighty – the Sovereign King of the Universe – sits on the edge of your bed and sings songs of love, joy, delight, confidence, assurance, mercy and grace to our troubled and insecure hearts. The Lord doesn’t just say those things – He SINGS those things – coming from deep within the heart of the Lord. My, oh my, what a comforting and amazing verse the Lord has spoken to and through Zephaniah.
Be at peace dear child of God. Come to faith in Christ and rest in His fatherly arms; knowing that He indeed loves you. How do I know the Lord loves me? He died for me, what else could He have done to prove His love for me? Quit fighting it and rest in His love and listen to Him sing to you this evening when you lay your head down to slumber. Remember, “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”