The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.Zephaniah 3:17
Judah (one of the kingdoms that the prophet Zephaniah is talking to in his prophecies) has a pretty hard head. I’m sure we all know what that’s like — we probably know someone (like ourselves) whose head is harder than a block of steel.
It’s a fairly popular human trait: not learning our lesson even after we’re taught it a thousand times. We grab the pot handle even though it’s burned our hands a hundred times before. We stay up late to finish a show we’re binge-watching even though we have a busy day of work tomorrow. We drink the milkshake, even though we’re lactose intolerant and we know it won’t sit well in our stomachs.
For Judah, the lesson that they can’t seem to learn is about what it means to have a covenant relationship with God. Judah sees the destruction and exile of Israel, and yet they refuse to keep their covenant obligations to God. Zephaniah warns them about their behavior, telling them to repent and return to God, but they don’t listen. Just like us, they know there will be consequences but they drink the milkshake anyway.
But there’s a little glimmer of hope for Judah. A Song of Joy, Zephaniah 3:14-20, tells us about a time when God will redeem His people. But not only does God save them, He also rejoices over them. Isn’t that crazy?
These are people — entire nations — who are unfaithful to God and never keep their side of the covenant. But God still chooses to save them, and even more than that, He rejoices over them. He rejoices over us.
We’re not as unlike Judah as we think. Just like how we grab hot pot handles but seem to immediately forget how hot the handle was, we also go to church or small group, learn the commands God has for how we are to live as His people, but seemingly forget them and fail to obey them. We drink the milkshake anyway.
But God is so good that He continuously forgives us, saves us, and rejoices over us. It’s so important that Zephaniah says it twice — God rejoices over us. So next time you’re tempted to turn your back on your relationship with God — when you want to pick up that milkshake — remind yourself of God’s love and joy for you and put that milkshake down.
God, thank You for Your faithfulness to me. Thank You that You never give up on me, even when I constantly fail you. Help me to be faithful and obedient to You, God. Thank You, Lord. Amen.