He Is Mighty-and…
This verse quickly becomes more meaningful as you take the time to break it down. It deserves much more than a cursory glance-as we apply His love for us to our lives.
Before we break it down let’s look at verse 17 in the New International Version:
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
The Lord himself will remove his hand of judgment, disperse Israel’s enemies, and come to live among his people. He will give them gladness. Zephaniah points out that gladness results when we allow God to be with us. We do that by faithfully following him and obeying his commands. Then God rejoices over us with singing. If you want to be happy, draw close to the source of happiness by obeying God. Life Application Study Bible
Let’s now go back to the NASB version of God’s Word (NASB is by default the version which I normally use, however every now and then I like to consult another version). So that we may arrive at the proper context of verse 17 it would be wise to include two of the preceding verses:
(Zep 3:15) The LORD has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more.
(Zep 3:16) In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp.
(Zep 3:17) “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
There are a few words in verse 17 which would be better served if we look at the ancient Hebrew definitions:
midst:קרב qereb keh’-reb properly the nearest part, that is, the centre, whether literally, figuratively or adverbially (especially with preposition): - X among, X before, bowels, X unto charge, + eat (up), X heart, X him, X in, inward (X -ly, part, -s, thought), midst, + out of, purtenance, X therein, X through, X within self.
victorious: ישׁע yâsha‛ yaw-shah’ A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor: – X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.
warrior: ּבּר גּבּור gibbôr gibbôr ghib-bore’, ghib-bore’ powerful; by implication warrior, tyrant: – champion, chief, X excel, giant, man, mighty (man, one), strong (man), valiant man.
exult: שׂישׂ שׂוּשׂ śûś śı̂yś soos, sece A primitive root; to be bright, that is, cheerful: – be glad, X greatly, joy, make mirth, rejoice.
rejoice: גּוּל גּיל gı̂yl gûl gheel, gool A primitive root; properly to spin around (under the influence of any violent emotion), that is, usually rejoice, or (as cringing) fear: – be glad, joy, be joyful, rejoice.
shouts: רנּה rinnâh rin-naw’ properly a creaking (or shrill sound), that is, shout (of joy or grief): – cry, gladness, joy, proclamation, rejoicing, shouting, sing (-ing), triumph.
joy: רנּה rinnâh rin-naw’ properly a creaking (or shrill sound), that is, shout (of joy or grief): – cry, gladness, joy, proclamation, rejoicing, shouting, sing (-ing), triumph.
The Lord our God is in our midst. He comes as a victorious warrior-or said differently He comes mighty to save. Is there anything too difficult for God?
Gen 18:14 “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
***Sarah didn’t believe that she would have a baby-but God told her otherwise.
So He comes mighty to save. The Psalms show us more-in the form of a song:
Psa 24:8 Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.
***This is the Messiah Himself! He is eternal, holy and mighty. And He is coming back!
The Lord promises to take away our sin. As a result we will see fewer troubles and begin to experience true joy.
After the promises of taking away sin, follow promises of taking away trouble. When the cause is removed, the effect will cease. What makes a people holy, will make them happy. The precious promises made to the purified people, were to have full accomplishment in the gospel. These verses appear chiefly to relate to the future conversion and restoration of Israel, and the glorious times which are to follow. They show the abundant peace, comfort, and prosperity of the church, in the happy times yet to come. He will save; he will be Jesus; he will answer the name, for he will save his people from their sins. Before the glorious times foretold, believers would be sorrowful, and objects of reproach. But the Lord will save the weakest believer, and cause true Christians to be greatly honoured where they had been treated with contempt. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
Here is a familiar verse often quoted at Christmas time.
Isa 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
***This child of course would become the awaited Messiah. I purchased a small wooden cross in which a young woman had made displaying the names above, and several more referring to Jesus the Messiah. This delightful young lady shared her testimony with me out in front of a Walmart store. She had been delivered from a life of drug addiction, and had expressed a great amount of joy in her life. I shall never forget such a striking testimony of the love of Christ.
Who is this Lord?
Isa 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”
Remember when He did this?
Isa 63:12 Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name,
***He delivered the Israelites out of Egypt-and He will deliver us!
My friend, God has a purpose. He goes through the night of judgment in order to bring us into the light of a new day. He does all of this that the day might come when He can rest in His love. God loves you and me today. I don’t know about you, but I doubt very seriously whether He can rest in His love for Vernon McGee. He could say of me, “He’s not perfected yet. He seems so immature. He is so filled with faults. He is apt to digress, apt to detour, at any moment.” God cannot rest in His love today. But the day is coming when we will be in His likeness—after He has put us on the “operating table”. Then He is going to bring us to Himself. What a wonderful and glorious picture this is! J. Vernon McGee
Zephaniah tells us that He will exult (be glad, rejoice) over us with shouts of joy. As I ponder the definitions of the words in this verse as defined in the Hebrew I see a theme which indicates the active willful expression of joy-of shouting and singing for example. Let’s look at some verses which give us further indication of Him exulting over us with joy:
Num 14:8 “If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us–a land which flows with milk and honey.
Psa 147:11 The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
We may spend a lot of effort trying to sharpen our skills or become physically fit. There is nothing wrong with doing so, and, in fact, our gifts can be used to glorify God. But when we use our gifts with no regard for God, they are indeed worth little. It is our honor and trust that God desires. When he has those, then he will use our gifts and strengths in ways far greater than we can imagine. Life Application Study Bible
Psa 149:4 For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.
Isa 65:19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.
***Sounds like a good change to me.
Jer 32:41 “I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.
***This struck me as a little profound. Look at this excerpt:
God uses his power to accomplish his purposes through his people. God doesn’t give you power to be all you want to be, but he gives you power to be all he wants you to be. The people of Israel had to learn that trusting God meant radically realigning their purposes and desires with his. God gave them “one heart” toward him (Jer_32:39). We must develop such singleness of heart and action to love God above anything else. Life Application Study Bible
These stories from the Gospel of Luke speak of being lost-then found, and of the resulting joy.
(Luk 15:4) “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?
(Luk 15:5) “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
(Luk 15:6) “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
(Luk 15:7) “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
It may seem foolish for the shepherd to leave 99 sheep to go search for just one. But the shepherd knew that the 99 would be safe in the sheepfold, whereas the lost sheep was in danger. Because each sheep was of high value, the shepherd knew that it was worthwhile to search diligently for the lost one. God’s love for the individual is so great that he seeks out each one and rejoices when he or she is found. Jesus associated with sinners because he wanted to bring the lost sheep—people considered beyond hope—the Good News of God’s Kingdom. Before you were a believer, God sought you; and he is still seeking those who are yet lost. Life Application Study Bible
Regarding the prodigal son:
(Luk 15:17) “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!
(Luk 15:18) ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;
(Luk 15:19) I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”‘
(Luk 15:20) “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
(Luk 15:21) “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
So what did the father do next? They had a great BBQ, actually a feast/BBQ and celebrated with music and dancing:
While the older brother had not wasted his inheritance with wild living as the younger had done-he lacked compassion.
(Luk 15:25) “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.
(Luk 15:26) “And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be.
(Luk 15:27) “And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’
(Luk 15:28) “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.
(Luk 15:29) “But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends;
(Luk 15:30) but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’
(Luk 15:31) “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.
(Luk 15:32) ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”
We must ask ourselves how we personally fit into this drama, that is which character do we most resemble in this story? I think as I ponder my own life’s story I can see all three characters at different points during my life. Of course this leads into topics in which we could perhaps spend a lot of time covering.
To sum it up:
There is no need, as a good number of commentators suggest, to place these verses in the post-exilic times solely because of their gentility and comforting effect. The tender note struck here is typical of God’s final redemption promised all through the Old Testament. Our Lord is depicted as being happy in His work of delivering His people (Zep_3:17). He will hush up His crying people with an overwhelming demonstration of His love. He will take great delight in all He has redeemed; He will break forth in singing over His people! Most of us had never thought there would be that much to sing about in the people of God—given all our warts and plain sinfulness. We cannot imagine that we could bring pleasure to the heart of God; but this text assures us that God definitely thinks differently. Some regard verse Zep_3:17 as the most beautiful verse in the whole book of Zephaniah. The Preacher’s Commentary
Let’s conclude with these words as spoken by Jesus with this final verse from the Gospel of John:
Joh 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
As translated in the NIV Bible:
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Today’s Grand PawdCast
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