June 30, 2008

God, the Singer

Zephaniah 3:14-20

“He will take great delight in you … he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17


The end of the book of Zephaniah is a stunningly beautiful description of God’s redemption project. The God of heaven and earth is out to redeem, heal, and save his people. The vision comes to a climax with this remarkable scene in which God takes “great delight” in his people and rejoices over them “with singing.”

There’s a lot of singing in Bible. The stars sang God’s praise at creation. The angels sang praise in Bethlehem. The angels and all the saints sing praise in heaven.

But God is not merely a passive listener. God is also a singer, delighting in and cherishing us and all creation.

For the past month we’ve been allowing God’s Word to convert our imaginations so that when we think about God, when we pray, and when we live out each day, we will set aside our sub-Christian ideas about God, our salvation, and our worship.

Right near the top of the list of sub-Christian ideas is the notion that God is passive and distant.

And one of the best antidotes to that notion is this compelling image in Zephaniah.

When you contemplate God’s own being and you think of God looking at you, think also of God rejoicing over you with singing—all because of the perfect salvation we have in Christ. The very thought of this generates a contagious kind of joy.

Almighty and loving God, help us to imagine you as the God who takes delight in your redeemed people. Then help us join the chorus that delights to sing your praise. Amen.

About the author — John D. Witvliet

Dr. John D. Witvliet has served as a professor at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary for the past 11 years, as well as serving as Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He and his wife, Charlotte, have four children.

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