“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Often, when we are in the middle of doing something that we feel God has put in our hearts to do, doubts and whispers of discouragement come. . . seemingly out of nowhere. A shadow begins to creep into your mind, bringing a sense of doubt about whatever step of obedience you are taking.
As I write this, I am in the Sahara Desert, in a huge refugee camp that has existed here, waiting for justice, since the 1970’s. It’s very challenging to be here, in every way. As I read the words of Zephaniah this morning, they took on far greater meaning than ever before.
First, he addresses the feeling of being all alone. Prophets were often literally all alone as they moved about announcing things that most people didn’t want to hear! They led lonely lives. Imagine what it would be like to live with someone who was always getting Messages that no one else was hearing, and they were usually not messages anyone wanted to hear. . . bad news that shook people who were on a wrong path, or warnings of coming judgment, or maybe messages that would describe the listener’s own demise. Thankfully, my words are of Good News, and I am being loved well here!
The Enemy of our Souls loves nothing more than to mess with our emotions, thoughts, circumstances, and relationships, especially when we are determined to obey what He has asked us to do. When our obedience ‘rocks the boat’ of people in our lives. . . people we want to please. . . people whose opinions really matter to us, it’s particularly stressful. We need to know that God is with us.
Look at Zephaniah’s list of the ways God showed him He is with us:
- “Mighty Warrior who saves”; on the field, fighting the Battles alongside us, and saving us;
- “He takes great delight in you!” You bring a smile to His face…JOY in watching you do what He has asked, like a proud Daddy watching His child obeying Him, even when it’s hard.
- Loving Words are spoken . . . not scolding or critiquing, as He sees you doing as He has asked;
- Like a proud Father, He demonstrates His joy and delight as He watches you doing what He has told you to do, even when it’s hard. He cheers you on…not taking His Eyes off of you as He watches you “go!”
Knowing that the Lord our God is with you . . .
to Save you . . .
Delighted in you . . .
Loving you without criticism. . .
Singing with joy over you.
That’s the image of God I want to keep in my mind and heart . . . especially in my “deserts of life”, . . . especially when the shadows come!