Zephaniah 3:17 “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."
This is a verse that I have always taken GREAT comfort in: this one small verse, in a small, obscure book in the Old Testament of the Bible, is a wealth of comfort, encouragement, and a beautiful glimpse into the heart of God.
A little background....Chapter 3 of Zephaniah is a recording of what God was telling His people through the prophet Zephaniah. He was promising full restoration and great blessing after the serious trials and tribulations they had been thru. He was re-assuring them of His great and never-ending love, that even throughout their horrible trials (some of which they had brought on themselves), He had never forgotten them.
LINE BY LINE
**The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.**
Even in the midst of chaos, confusion, turmoil, and outright hell, God is ALWAYS with us. Jesus promised in Matthew 28, and again in John 6:37, among other places, that under NO circumstances would He EVER, EVER, EVER leave our side. No matter what is going on in our world, He is there.
Not only is He will us, "He is mighty to save" - I suppose it sounds trite and over-used to say that God is bigger than any problem we have - but it is so true! Our problems may be huge, overwhelming, terrifying, and so much bigger than us, bigger than we may be able to handle - but not for God. As big as our problems are, He is so much bigger! I believe that this is what Paul was referring to in Philippians 3:13 (I love the Amplified Bible translation – look at this!)
"I have strength for ALL THINGS **IN CHRIST** (key point!) who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. (Philippians 4:13, Amplified Bible)
Beginning in Philippians 3:11, Paul describes the various trials he had been through - hunger, poverty, persecutions, etc - as well as the times of ease and prosperity. His secret of being content, his ability to survive - even thrive - in any and all situations lay in his intimate relationship with Christ. I'm sure there were many times he was overwhelmed, afraid and in unbearable pain - but he learned thru time and experience, that God truly is bigger than anything he could ever face. God does not play favorites - what was true for Israel, Zephaniah, and Paul is true for us today. YOU CAN OVERCOME ANYTHING - thru Christ.
**He will take great delight in you,**
This portion is so special to me. I was once an insecure teenager with serious self-esteem issues (i.e., not HAVING any!) as a result of growing up in an alcoholic and violent home, and the outcast in EVERY social group at school. I thought surely God must always be mad at me, disappointed in me, and fed up with my constant whining. Until the day I found this verse. GOD DELIGHTS IN US! Not just "tolerates" or "puts up with us" - but literally ENJOYS us - for who we are, for the simple fact that we ARE, and that we are His children. In Revelation we, the church, are referred to as "the bride of Christ." Think back to when you fell in love - remember the sheer delight of being with that person? How you just drank in and savored their every look, their every breath, just their very existence? That is how God delights in us. He is literally "in love" with humanity and delights in His children: just as we so enjoy and take pleasure in and love our own human children - even the ones who are "disabled" and those who are "hard to handle." His love for us far exceeds even this fierce, passionate and natural love we feel for our children!! The next time you feel unworthy, unloved, and that perhaps God considers you a failure, think back to this verse and remind yourself, "God DELIGHTS in me! He takes pleasure in my company, not for what I DO, but for WHO I AM - flaws, warts, and all!" See also Romans 5:8, Ephesians 1:4-8, Ephesians 2:4-10)
**he will quiet you with his love,**
When we are devastated by "Life" and the things that happen, when we are frantic with worry and fear, His love, His safe, enduring, warm love, surrounds us and gives us peace. Again the analogy of a child comes to mind. Your child falls, gets hurt, or is terrified and afraid or wounded by cruel remarks of peers. He or she comes to you, sobbing hysterically with sadness and anguish. Or a tiny baby has colic and screams for hours on end. Do we push them away and tell them to "grow up" and chastise them? No - we hold them, rock them, speak soothingly to them, and reassure them of our love. So it is with God. While we kick and scream and punch pillows, collapsing into an exhausted, trembling heap, He is patiently by our side, whispering words of love and encouragement... when we are finally still and focusing on Him, His Holy Spirit gently wraps us up in a safe, snug warm "blanket" of His love, soothing our hearts and minds with His gentle presence. He quiets us with His love. Jesus said in John 14:27 (amplified bible, again) "Peace I leave with you, My (own) peace I now give and bequeath to you Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (Stop allowing yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and ...unsettled).
**he will rejoice over you with singing."**
Just as we soothe and love our children with soft and gentle songs, or silly songs to make them laugh, so God does with us. He delights in us; He rejoices in us, He sings to and with us. YOU make God happy - just by being you!!!
Be encouraged! You are loved so greatly!