January 19, 2018
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
My mother isn’t exactly a singer, but she is totally a rejoicer. She is the happiest person I know, and I have many friends who would readily agree. Growing up, she filled my life with smiles and joy. You heard my mom’s laughter long before you saw her.
I know I’m extremely blessed to have a mom like this. Yet, regardless of your earthly parent’s personality, you have a heavenly Father who is joyful. Did you know God is a happy God?
In 1 Timothy 1:11, Paul writes to Timothy about “the glory of the blessed God.” This word blessed is translated as the common word for happy. Today’s key verse gives us more evidence of a joyful God. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
He takes delight in you.
Contrary to what some in pop culture today might have us think, this is hardly a description of a stern, hardhearted, severe, grumpy Savior. No, we serve a God who saves us from death … and then prepares a place in heaven for us to celebrate!
We can be glad right now, not because circumstances are perfect, but because our Father in heaven is perfect.
We can smile today, not because we feel like it, but because we are responding with our faces to the truth that God no longer rebukes us. He is for us, and He is singing over us.
Many nights, I lean over my youngest daughter’s bed, and I sing to her. I sing a short song from Scripture, and then I say, “I love you” and “Goodnight.” This is a time of joy and security for my little girl and for me, too. It’s a picture of how God lovingly, tenderly watches over us and sings, rejoicing over us.
We often pray things like, “Lord, make me more like You,” and that’s good. But I wonder if we can sometimes miss that being more like Jesus is becoming a happier person. Living with joy is a holy pursuit, not a frivolous, shallow quest.
The Gospels tell us parents brought their children to Jesus so He could bless them. The disciples didn’t want to pester Jesus with such unimportant business, but Jesus responded, “Let the little children come to me” (Luke 18:16b, NIV).
I imagine children loved being around Jesus because He had a twinkle in His eye and He made them feel welcome. How do children feel welcome? Usually with smiles, laughs and perhaps a little cluster of raisins. Children followed Jesus, which makes me think Jesus smiled and was friendly. Remember, it was a boy who gave up his lunch of five loaves and two fish to feed the 5,000. (John 6:9) That’s no small task for a growing boy!
Men and women, young and old, were drawn to Jesus. Joy is attractive. The more you put it on display, the more people want to be around you.
Can others see joy in your life? Don’t worry; you don’t have to be as demonstrative as my mom. We all have different personalities, yet we are all commanded to rejoice. Rejoice in your own way; just be sure to rejoice. In so doing, you become more like your Heavenly Father who loves to sing and rejoice over you.
Lord, I choose to rejoice in Your love for me today. Thank You for saving me and singing over me. I praise You because You can turn my mourning into joy and bring happiness out of grief. Fill me with joy today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Zephaniah 3:14-15, “Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.” (NIV)
Philippians 4:4-5, ”Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (NIV)
How do I live in God's love when I don't feel loved? Our next Online Bible Study is I Am Loved by Proverbs 31 author Wendy Blight. Wendy wrote this in-depth study of the book of 1 John for every woman who craves to truly understand, walk confidently in and live out God’s unconditional, extravagant, lavish love … because His love truly changes everything! All of our studies are free to join — click here for more information.
Visit Arlene’s website to listen to her message about joy titled, “The Happy Habit.”
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How do you picture God? Is it difficult for you to see Him as joyful and happy, or is that a picture that comes naturally to you?
Are there any changes in thought or behavior you need to make in order to experience more of God’s joy in your life?
© 2018 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.