I distinctly remember the first time I came across Zephaniah 3:17. I don’t recall my physical surroundings, but I remember feeling like I had uncovered a hidden vein of silver. Having been raised in a conservative Baptist church, I read in the King James Version: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
Those phrases were so strange to me. I had learned to perceive God as the Almighty who was in control of all and loved me, but who obviously had a rigid set of rules to follow. The thought of God displaying beautiful, deep emotion through rejoicing and singing because of me just did not compute.
Many years later, while at the bible camp where we serve during our summers, I walked into the aging girl’s shower house and there on the wall above the mirror was the phrase “The King delights in YOU! Zephaniah 3:17”.
I looked in the mirror and then back at the sign and was stunned by the voice of the Father saying… “Listen to me, Sarah. Think about this. I love you. It is my desire for you to KNOW ME. You bring me joy.” Wow!
Repeatedly throughout Scripture, Jehovah makes clear His deep desire to be known. Whether it be in a quiet, twilight stroll through Eden, a plague of death sweeping through Egypt, the songs of a lowly shepherd/king, the prophecies of captivity and restoration, or the ultimate act of incarnation and salvation, Jehovah reveals Himself to us if we will only look.
At the heart of every human is the longing to be known, understood and loved. If we are created in the image of God, then why would we expect any less from Him?! The Creator of all wants us to know and experience Him. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24
Abba, I confess again my struggle to fully grasp that you are crazy about me. Thank you for being a God who not only loves and knows us intimately, but who desires for us to enter into a deep, engaged walk with you. Lord, please give us insatiable appetites for you. Prick our hearts to search for and clasp onto those quiet moments in our days. Teach us to “be still and know that you are God”. In Jesus’ name, Amen.