by Daniel Rieke
I often make up spontaneous songs about my daughters. I just can’t help it. It’s probably a daily occurrence. My love for those precious little girls is often inadequately expressed in anything other than spontaneous singing. I express my delight in my little girls with lyric and melody. It’s my natural instinct.
When I dated my wife, I wrote her a half dozen love songs as I rejoiced in the amazing, beautiful creation she is and celebrated my love for her.
When we really love someone, it often produces songs in our hearts that overflow through our lungs and out of our mouths. There’s just something about singing that expresses what mere words are not always able to do. Singing is a conduit for expressing emotion. Feeling. Love. Affection.
That’s what makes the third chapter of Zephaniah so stunning.
 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
 The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
We see many encouraging things in these verses about God and His relationship to His children. To name a few:
- His people are encouraged to rejoice because God has taken away the punishment we deserve for our sin (v. 14-15)
- God protects His people from their enemies (v. 15)
- God is with His people (v. 15)
- We do not need to fear because God is with us (v. 16-17a)
But it is the second half of verse 17 that is perhaps the most striking and profound portion of this passage: “he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Let that sink in for a moment.
The God of the Universe, who created everything, who is infinite, holy, and without need…the God who hold the entire world in His hands…the God who has existed forever in perfect joy and love within the Godhead…that God rejoices over His people.
That God sings over His people. Loudly. And with joy.
Let that sink in again.
The implications of this are staggering for believers in Jesus. For those who believe in the truth of the gospel – of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection – and who have submitted to Him as Lord and Master…
God sings over you. Loudly. And with joy.
The word “exult” carries a connotation of triumph, rejoicing, delight. So it seems that God sings a celebratory song, perhaps similar to one you or I might sing over our children, celebrating our love for them, as we put them to bed. God sings over His children with delight.
And He isn’t shy about it…the end of the verse says that it is “loud singing.” He doesn’t hold back. God “shouts it from the rooftops” (if you will), celebrating His love for His people, who He has redeemed and called by His name.
God is a perfect Father and as such, He loves His children perfectly. He demonstrated His love for us most notably through sending His Son, Jesus, to die for us. And it is through that love in the gospel that we receive adoption as His children (Rom 8:12-17).
And God sings over His children. What an identity-shaping truth: that all genuine believers in Jesus are delighted-in, sung-over, deeply-loved children of the most-high God.
It sort of makes you want to sing doesn’t it?
For a deeper examination of this theological truth, The Singing God by Sam Storms is a phenomenal resource.
[i] Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.