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
It’s a quiet riverside park on a Saturday afternoon. Joggers pass by, fishing rods whirl, seagulls fight over fish and chip wrappers, and my wife and I sit watching the couple. They are maybe in their late forties and are speaking a language unknown to us. She sits gazing into his eyes while he, without a hint of self-consciousness, sings to her a love song in his own tongue, carried on the breeze for us all to hear.
This delightful act got me thinking about the book of Zephaniah. At first you might wonder why. In Zephaniah’s day, God’s people had become corrupt by bowing to false gods (1:4–5), and Israel’s prophets and priests were now arrogant and profane (3:4). For much of the book, Zephaniah declares God’s coming judgment on not just Israel but all the nations of the earth (v. 8).
Yet Zephaniah foresees something else. Out of that dark day will emerge a people who wholeheartedly love God (vv. 9–13). To these people God will be like a bridegroom who delights in His beloved: “In his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (v. 17).
Creator, Father, Warrior, Judge. Scripture uses many titles for God. But how many of us see God as a Singer with a love song for us on His lips?
How do you normally picture God—as Creator, Father, Warrior, or something else? How might your life change if you were to think of God as Lover, and yourself as His beloved?
Great Singer, I delight in Your singing over me.
Zephaniah 1:1 is unusual because it provides a more extended biographical background than we normally find in the Old Testament prophets. It says, “The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah.” Two things are noteworthy here. First, Zephaniah was a direct descendant of one of Judah’s greatest kings—Hezekiah—giving him royal heritage. Second, Zephaniah ministered during the reign of Josiah, who, in his sweeping religious reforms, reinstituted the feast of Passover.