May 02, 2018
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.
—Zephaniah 3:17, NIV
This verse speaks powerfully of God’s love for us, and shows us three life-changing aspects of that love. It’s one of my favorite verses. As we take a closer look at these three aspects of love, I hope it will be an encouragement to you as well.
He Delights in You.
My friend sat in my living room one Friday morning with tears streaming down her face. We were discussing God’s love displayed in Zephaniah 3:17. The phrase “He [God] will take great delight in you” triggered her tears—and her questions.
“How can God delight in me?” she asked, “I __________.” She spoke briefly about why she felt unworthy of His love. “What delight do You see in me, God?” she asked, followed by, “Why am I responding with such deep emotion?”
Her questions revealed her insecurities and her deep desire for her life to be delightful to God. But it was so hard for her to believe that it was so. My friend grew up in the church, she loves God, devotions are a regular habit, serving others is part of her reality. It seems like God would be delighted in her. That morning I had no answers other than, will you trust this is true?
He Quiets You with His Love.
A few weeks ago I sat in an overstuffed chair in a popular Starbucks. Although the shop was swirling with morning business, I blocked out the conversations and enjoyed the blue sky beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows. In the midst of all the noise, quietness enveloped me and God whispered part of Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” I needed to hear it. I wasn’t feeling very worthy of love that morning.
Then the epiphany: “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, ESV). God looks at the real us. God looks at the heart He planted in us. He is not looking at the outside, at those days when we missed morning devotions, at those days when anger is more prevalent than loving my neighbor, or impatience characterizes my relationship with my precious grandchildren. “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14, ESV). He is always looking at my heart. God quieted me with His love.
He Rejoices Over You with Singing.
A different phrase from the same verse met another friend where she was living. “He will exult over you with loud singing” (ESV). This friend leads music in her church, always pointing the congregation to God and glorifying him. But this verse clearly says that God exults over her with loud singing! This brought up questions for her as well:
“How can this be?”
“How should I respond?”
“How will this be manifested as I lead others?”
“How can I communicate to those I am leading that God is singing over them?”
These words awed her and led her to worship. God is singing over her! Amazing.
* * *
In three different situations and with three different phrases from one verse, God met each of us uniquely. And my epiphany spoke to each situation: God looks on our hearts, He quiets us with His love. Along with my friends, I can rest in that truth. God loves me.
“See how very much our Father loves us,
for he calls us his children,
and that is what we are!
—1 John 3:1, NLT
Copyright © 2018 Sue Tell. Sue and her husband, Bill, have served on Navigator staff since 1972. Although their roles have changed over the years, the campus ministry has always been a part. Currently Sue’s home is in the Encore mission. Bill is in Learning and Development. Sue’s loves are writing her faith-based blog, Echoes of Grace (from which this article is adapted), facilitating Sabbath-living retreats, and connecting with several young Collegiate staff women across the country. Her blogs post at suetell.com each Thursday.