Zephaniah 3:16 — God’s Love Song for You
16) In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. 17) The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Long ago, a girl named Elizabeth wrote forty-four sonnets to her lover. Eventually, the couple eloped to Italy and led a wonderful life of love and devotion to each other. Elizabeth’s poetry reflected the beautiful the love the couple shared. If you haven’t already guessed, the woman’s full name was Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the poems she wrote were the famous Sonnets from the Portuguese. Even if you’ve never heard of the sonnets, you are probably familiar with the first line of Sonnet 43.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love seemed to lose
With my lost saints — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
What a tender picture of love! Our text tells a very similar story of love. Zephaniah writes to the nation of Judah during the reign of Josiah, the last good king of Israel. Josiah became a king as an eight year old boy. When Josiah became an adult, he brought religious reform to the nation. Since the king was so well-respected, the people followed Josiah’s righteous leadership. Zephaniah writes to the nation of Judah most likely at either the beginning of the reforms or the end of the reforms. Desiring to awake Judah out of religious contentment, Zephaniah presents the aspect of Jehovah’s wrath upon those who worshiped false gods, demonstrating indifference to the Lord. Chapter three begins with the judgment of God which will fall directly upon Jerusalem. Then a new theme begins at the middle of the chapter. Verse nine begins an encouragement to the nation of Judah. Jehovah would restore His people to a proper relationship with Him. Our text describes for us the wondrous beauty of the relationship that would exist between God and His people.
When a person is right with God, the blessings of the relationship are great and beautiful. Zephaniah 3.16-17 tell us that the blessings of fellowship with Jehovah cause a person not to fear. The wonder of fellowship with God is the joy of love. You may learn a simple truth of Zephaniah 3.16-17. You may find true enjoyment in God by loving Him.
Rest (being quiet) actually conveys the idea of celebration. One of my favorite things is a freshly mowed lawn. When I finish mowing the lawn, I like to sit in a chair on the porch of my house, drink a cool beverage, and enjoy the beauty of my yard. I celebrate the fact that my work has accomplished something good.
God’s love celebrates in His own glory and perfection. God’s love to you stems from His love for His glory. As sinners, man has fallen short of God’s glory. God’s love crossed the gulf created by sin to restore man to proper fellowship with Him. We call this crossing redemption. God glories in redemption because man may now willingly give Him glory and enjoy His love. God celebrates your love for Him because His love reached to you and me to save us from falling short of His glory!
The last phrase of verse seventeen illustrates the celebration God has for the love of His people. He rejoices with loud singing. The word exult comes from the Hebrew word which literally means to spin around. The picture portrayed by the vocabulary is that of intense emotion. When I tell my daughters that they are going to see their grandmother, they run around the house, spinning in circles, and jumping for joy. They are very excited; they have intense emotions about seeing their grandmother. My daughters vocalize their pleasure, shouting ‘Hurray!’ God’s love causes Him to rejoice over you with singing. God sings a love song just for you. Have you ever had a song written just for you? How about a poem? Some guys are romantic, and they write love poems to their sweethearts. God has written a song specifically for you. He sings it with joy for you. Just as the Father rejoices in the Son, He rejoices for us because of His Son.
What are your thoughts on this verse?
Has someone ever written a song just for you? How did/would that make you feel?
How did God make known His love song for you?
What does it mean that God exults over you with joy and singing?