The prophet Zephaniah delivered the word of the Lord during the reign of Josiah, King of Judah, when the people turned toward God in repentance. Zephaniah prophesied that God was going to purify his people Israel. This would bring God so much joy that he will break out into singing. Zephaniah prophesied:
On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3: 16-17).
Zephaniah helped God’s people look forward to “that day” when the Lord their God will not only dwell in the Temple but would live among them. John described it this way “The Word became flesh and made his home among us” (John 1:14). When Jesus lived among his people, there was cause for cheer and not for fear, just as John said “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). He is a mighty Savior. With his love, he calms our fears about the wrath of God we know our sin deserves. And perhaps even more surprisingly, he rejoices over us.
When do we see Jesus rejoicing? He helps us to see his rejoicing heart by telling stories. In Luke 15, Jesus told the parable of the shepherd who finds his lost sheep and says, “Rejoice with me” (15:6). He told the parable of the woman who loses a valuable coin and when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me” (15:9). Perhaps best known of all is the story of the father of the Prodigal Son who returns home. The joyful father says, “We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life” (15:23-24). Jesus was picturing for us how his heart bursts into joyful song when the lost are found. And not Jesus only, but all of heaven, for Jesus also said that “there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents” (Luke 15:10).
How wonderful to know that Jesus rejoices over us in this way. During this current time that we are not able to sing together in worship, let us instead sing with the Lord rejoicing over all he has done for us. Let us also sing with the Lord and all of heaven; rejoicing for each soul that is added to the Kingdom.
Prayer – Lord Jesus, you are my mighty Savior who delights in me, calms me, and rejoices over me. Help me to hear your song of joy, forgiveness and acceptance. Help me to sing with you, my Singing Savior.
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.