Text: Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is in your midst,

   a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

      he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing.

“The Lord your God…will rejoice over you with gladness.”

Can you remember the last time that you rejoiced over something with gladness? The last time you got good news or the perfect surprise or a hug or phone call from someone you love? Now take that feeling and multiply it by infinity. This is how your God feels about you.

“[H]e will quiet you by his love…”

At first, this line seems to be in contrast to the previous one. He’s rejoicing over you. He is dancing and jumping with joy, unable to contain his words of happiness. But he’s actually quieting you?

I have a boyfriend who lives on the opposite side of the country from me, so we have to rely on video chatting. I look forward to our chats every day. My heart beats faster in anticipation of talking to him, and I get distracted from my responsibilities. But the moment I get that video call, my heart quiets down. I calm down. There could be an earthquake happening, and my heart would be calm. That is the picture God gives us in this verse.

“[H]e will exult over you with loud singing.”

The other day, I cranked the tunes as I did the dishes, belted out pop songs, and thanked God that no one was around to hear me, or to see me dance in my kitchen.

But God doesn’t care if people see him singing and rejoicing. He exults over you with loud singing. He doesn’t care who sees. He doesn’t care who hears. He wants everyone to know how much he loves you. He wants the whole world to see him get crazy with his loud singing. Over you.

Way before Zephaniah, though, God already did rejoice over us. He made us, and said that his creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). So what happened between creation and his word here?

We blew it. Humans sinned and had to be separated from God, because God can’t be around sin. He cast humans out of our perfect home, and out of range of his physical presence. Thousands of years later, he made the promises in this verse. But how could he be in our midst, rejoice, and exult, if he couldn’t be around us?

God had a plan. A few hundred years after Zephaniah, he sent his Son Jesus to come to earth as a man, and take on all of our separating-sin. As God, Jesus was able to spread the forgiveness of God to all of God’s people. Now, we can bask in the fulfilment of the promises here.

This year, whether you are single, married, or in between, let Valentine’s Day remind you of your God who rejoices over you even when you’re grumpy; quiets you even when you’re unloving; and exults over you even when you’re making a fool of yourself. This Valentine’s Day, rest in the glad, loud, shameless love of your great God.