The Father’s Presence
Hear what it says about God’s presence. He is “in your midst.” He is “always with you.” Just think of it; He is right there where you are, quite literally every second of every minute of every hour of every day, no matter where that may be. That may not get everyone excited, but it sure turned on Zephaniah! His response to God’s abiding presence is recorded in verses 14 and 15 of chapter 3.
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; and you shall never again fear evil.
There’s no way to tone down this language. You can’t escape the uninhibited exuberance contained in these words. Shout for joy! Shout loudly in triumphant exultation! Rejoice and be glad and celebrate with all your might! God is with us, so let’s party! Cast aside all reserve. Forget about what others might think or say. Think about God’s presence, His abiding fellowship, and throw caution to the wind! Don’t worry about the traditions and formalities of men. Let down your guard for once and be jubilant!
When Zephaniah chose the word translated “shout” in verse 14, he intended to make a point. This word carries the force of a ringing cry that calls for the onslaught of battle. Observe how it is used elsewhere: And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. —NUMBERS 10:9, (EMPHASIS ADDED)
But Joshua commanded the people, “ You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” —JOSHUA 6:10, (EMPHASIS ADDED)
“ Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.” . . . Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. —2 CHRONICLES 13:12, 15, (EMPHASIS ADDED)
In other words, it’s OK to get excited about the presence of God. Fill the air with the piercing cry of exultation. Shout for joy! God is with you.
The Father’s Power
“But what if this God can’t do anything about my problems? What good is His presence if He isn’t strong enough to help me face my struggles?” That’s not an invalid question. Here’s the answer. The God who is present with you is also a God of unlimited power. He is a mighty warrior, a strong and victorious hero who fights on your behalf. I know it sounds strange, but think about it anyway. God is a soldier! He’s dressed for battle, armed and ready. He is your champion, your defender.
Isaiah exhorts God’s people to sing songs of joyful praise, because “the LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes” (Isa. 42:13).
-The Singing God