Today is one of those glorious southern spring days. The skies are Carolina blue and not a cloud interrupts their vastness. The bright sun has slowly melted away the chilly, early-morning dew. No humidity. Just upper 60's and sensational!
Days like these put a song in my heart. I was running my morning errands...had a selection of annuals in the trunk of the car...anticipating getting my hands dirty in the garden soil. I popped in a cd and the frame of my four-door sedan became my sanctuary.
You see, I can't sing. No, really, I can't! Ask my family. I don't even sing in the shower because others within earshot may be offended. So, this day, I lifted a prayer to God. I asked Him to forgive me for it being awhile since we last talked. I called upon the name of the Lord. I thanked Him for all my many blessings. I gave Him a fist bump for the glorious day. Then I cranked up the volume and began a full out praise and worship fest at the stop light.
Sure, I caught a glimpse of the mini-van in my rearview mirror, but I really didn't care. My hands were drumming out the beat on my steering wheel. Interspersed with hand raises, head bobs, seat dancing moves, eyes closed; I was in my God zone. One of those moments that would have mortified my kids lol.
I cracked open one eye to see if the light had changed (I knew this one was a long one). The mini-van - previously behind me - was now beside me and the driver was motioning me to roll down my window. Oh busted...
"I just have to ask," she began, "what are you listening to?" Feeling the red burn of embarrassment rise to my cheeks, I answered, "Christy Nockels- 'Ever Lifting'...great song!"
"Oh, well I just had to know," she went on, "you looked like you were having so much fun!"
Truth be told...I was!
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. (One commentary calls God's singing an "utter jubilee of the heart".) (Zephaniah 3:17)
I have become a "word nerd" of sorts. I've read this scripture many times before, but I got out my concordance (I use the NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance by John Kohlenberger, Third Edition).
I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to dig in the fertile soil of His Word and see what new truths it held. So I looked up some of the key words, seeking for what God might want to reveal. Again, I called upon His name.
The phrase "Take great delight" in the original Hebrew looked like an algebraic equation in my 9th grade Algebra class.
H8464 - "sus" + H928 - "b" + H8525 - "simha"
Translated it would go something like...He (God) will rejoice, be pleased, delight greatly + with + joy, gladness, pleasure, celebration, emense enjoyment.
When we call upon the name of the Lord, Love's Heart Hears!!
He not only hears, but He has "a jubilee of the heart"...
Or as we say in the South, "He's fixin' to give you a big ole bear hug because He's plum crazy boutcha. Even more, He's might sweet on you and He ain't just whistling 'Dixie!"
I also looked up the word "rebuke". Probably because honestly, I don't like the thought of God rebuking me.
In Hebrew the phrase "no longer rebuke" = "hares"
"hares" = to be silent, to be deaf, to make no moves, to say no more, to say nothing.
In this section of Zephaniah, evil doing and unrepentant Jerusalem finally calls upon the name of the Lord. The Lord not only takes away judgment, but He is silent. He says no more. He is forever silent on their evil doing.
This continuing theme of Unrepentent >>Calling Upon the Name of the Lord >>Restoration began in the Old Testament. Thanks to Jesus' death on the cross, the Lord is "hares" - He is silent. He says no more about out sins.
And best of all He is "sus" + "b" + "simhe": He's rejoicing and delighting greatly with joy, celebration, and gladness.
So much so that He sings over us...He sings over you...
He's might sweet on you and He's plum crazy boutcha too! Do you believe that??
All you have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and Love's Heart Hears!!
Is there anything holding you back from believing that God delights in you? Do you ever fear He will rebuke you? What lies does the enemy want you to believe? Do they match up with what you know of scripture and it's story of God's great love for you??
Dear Heavenly Father, Forgive me for the times I do exactly what I don't want to do. Forgive my evil ways past and present. I call upon your precious name and in doing so, I KNOW that you hear. I claim the forgiveness you promised me through trusting on the sacrificial death of Christ. Therefore, there is now NO condemnation. Thank you for restoring our relationship. Thank you for pulling me back into your arms of love. Thank you for delighting in me...singing joyfully over me...let me know that I am the reason for the jubilee of your heart. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.
ps. Please pray for the people of Pakistan and for Redeemer Christian Foundation's presence there in our school. Thankfully, none of our children were among the 65+ killed and 300+ injured in the suicide bomb blast in a park on Easter. Pakistan's small Christian community was celebrating Easter when this heinous attack took place.
Do you want to do something about what's going on in our world besides feel helpless?
RCF, Inc. is supporting raising up children in the love and hope that Jesus teaches. Others are taking notice and lives are being transformed. People in this part of the world see the joy and hope in the eyes of the children and they want to know more.
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