The Love of God: The God Who Delights in Us
“He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
When we love someone, we find joy in being with them and rejoice in their accomplishments and happiness. As a husband, there is nothing more enjoyable than taking a hike with my wife or taking a trip together. Part of the enjoyment of life is sharing life together with someone and weeping when they weep and rejoicing when they rejoice. So also, as a parent, we find great joy when see the accomplishments of our children. We rejoice with them when the cross the podium to get their diploma. We share their joy when they stand before a Pastor and exchange their vows with the person they love. We share their happiness when they weep at the wonder of the birth of their first child.
Sometimes it is difficult for us to fully grasp the depth of God’s love for us. Because we associate love with touch and face to face interaction, God seems remote and distant because we cannot touch, see, or feel him like we do with people. As a result, the concept of his unfailing love for us seems abstract and academic rather than personal and involved. Yet, amazingly when we examine scripture, we not only see God’s love for us expressed in his giving of himself to make us happy, we discover that he finds joy in us. Zephaniah concludes his prophetic message with the promise of Israel restoration. In light of Israel’s redemption, he calls upon Israel to shout for joy for God will no longer discipline Israel, but will give them victory over their enemies. No longer will they be fearful, for God is now in their midst (vs 17). To capture the delight that God has for his people, Zephaniah then uses three vivid statements.
First, “He will exult over you with joy.” The phrase expresses the delight that God receives when he blesses his people. Just as a husband finds joy in his wife and parents find joy in the life and accomplishments of their children, so God rejoices over us.
The thought of the next verse is even more surprising. The phrase “He will be quiet in His love” speaks of the quiet contemplation of love that one has for another. The pictures is of a lover who is sitting quietly, just enjoying thinking of his love. Normally the picture is of people silently meditating upon God, but here it is God quietly meditating on us! This is beyond our comprehension, that the God of the universe sits in quiet reflection of his love for us.
The final phrase provides an even more astounding picture of God bursting into song to express his love for his people. The phrase “shouts of Joy” refers to the act of singing vocal music. Sometimes when we are meditating upon God’s goodness and love for us, we will break out into a song, singing of a favorite chorus or hymn as an expression of our wonder of God’s love. But here it is not people bursting forth in songs of worship and praise for God, it is God himself bursting forth in a love song for us!
One writer summarizes the verse this way, “To consider Almighty God sinking in contemplations of love over a once-wretched human being can hardly be absorbed by the human mind.” But this is the picture presented, that God finds joy in his love for us. Such love in incomprehensible. When circumstances press in about us and we feel discouraged and abandoned by people and even by God, remember God sings for joy because of his love for you.