God the Rock Star (10/25/15)

Posted by on Oct 31, 2015 in Sermons | 0 comments

Does God really care about us?  We know John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world…”),  but how’s that apply to me???  The prophet Zephaniah writes that God will “take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love.”  On October 25 2015 Pastor Jim looked at this passage and led us into a closer glimpse of our Creator’s amazing love.

Click the “Play” button to start the recording (from the 11:00 service), then scroll down to follow along.

The scripture was Zephaniah 3:14-17 Open the below drop down box to follow along.


14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!

15 For the Lord will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the Lord himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster.

16 On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be,  “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid!

17 For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Have you ever been serenaded by someone you love? It makes you feel good, affirmed, wanted and special. EVEN if the one singing to you is out of tune, off key, and can’t carry a tune in a bucket, the sound is sweet.


Joash Tries to Bring God’s People Back in Tune…

Zephaniah?  When’s the last time you read this book?!!?  It was written somewhere around 622 BC.  It mentions the “Day of the Lord” more than does any other book in the Old Testament, clarifying the picture of Judah’s fall to Babylon and the eventual judgement and restoration of all humanity in the future.  In this case, it refers primarily to God’s impending time of judgement on the nation of Judah.

Here’s some insight into what Zephaniah considered this Day of the Lord to Be.  This is where Israel was headed…

Zeph 1:1-2  The Lord gave this message to Zephaniah when Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah.  “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” says the Lord.

Zeph 1:4   “I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship. I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests, so that even the memory of them will disappear.

Zeph 2:10  They will receive the wages of their pride, for they have scoffed at the people of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Zeph 1:14  “That terrible day of the Lord is near. Swiftly it comes— a day of bitter tears, a day when even strong men will cry out.
Zeph 1:15 It will be a day when the Lord’s anger is poured out— a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness,
Zeph 1:17  “Because you have sinned against the Lord, I will make you grope around like the blind. Your blood will be poured into the dust, and your bodies will lie rotting on the ground.”

Zeph 3:17 For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Israel was out of tune with God; they had turned the worship of God into a fiasco.  But God sent an 8 year old to be their king.  And this young king helped to create a revival.

In the 18th year of Josiah’s reign, Hilkiah the priest found in the temple a copy of the book of the law that had been ignored for decades.  When he read it to the king, Josiah was broken.  He humbled himself before the Lord and rent his clothes and wept (2 Kings 22:19).

Over the next 13 years, Josiah led an amazing reformation in Judah based on the law of God. 2 Kings 23

  • He renewed the covenant between God and his people (2 Kings 23:3).
  • He took all the vessels of Baal out of the Temple (2 Kings 23:5)
  • Broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes (2 Kings 23:7)
  • Removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun (2 Kings 23:22)
  • Reinstituted the Passover that had been ignored since the days of the judges (2 Kings 23:22)

So when we see what was going on in Zephaniah’s day we can see how the prophet and the king… and God… were trying to draw the people back to God.

Their sin had found them out.  And yet, Zephaniah gives a message of hope, reminding his audience of a God who is crazy in love with His people!  They could have looked at the bad things on the horizon and fallen into a “Woe is me” trap, but instead Zephaniah tried to get them back into tune.  Instead, he said “look to the God who loves you more than He loves Himself.  Look to the God who wants to be with you.”

He takes great delight in you!

Wouldn’t you like to go through a day where somebody didn’t remind you of your past?  A day where you hear positive reinforcement and encouragement?  That’s what God is doing here.


God will Rejoice Over You!

Look at what Zephaniah wrote in 3:17…

 For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

God will come and live inside you.  He’s going to make these broken pieces a clay a perfect dwelling.  God is rejoicing, dancing, spinning around, enjoying you!

Rock Star???

The Hebrew words used for the phrase “rejoice over you” literally means “dance, skip, leap, and spin around in joy.”  God dances with shouts of joy over us!  The Hebrew language used in this text is very active.  It’s not just “spin” like you’re getting dizzy; it means “spin around under violent emotion,”  or basically – to dance!

When we see the original meaning of these words we come away with a God who resembles a rock star more than an old grandfatherly type sitting on a throne.

With all DUE respect to God… in some ways God is like the dog who greets you when you come home (picture the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son!  Luke 15:11-32).  Wouldn’t it be cool if God treats us like our dog does?  When we come in the door, our dog licks us senseless.  Wags his tail.  Jumps up and down.  Dances.  We want our dog to go nuts when we come home!  This verse is saying that this is how God reacts when we come in His presence.

God doesn’t want to smack you upside the head.  Even in the face of the destruction of Jerusalem, He is rejoicing over them.  Like a proud father of a little league baseball player, God actively encourages us from the stands and takes delight in us.

The Israelites had let God down big time.  They had forgotten Him.  And yet He promises to “take delight in you with gladness.”  Same thing with us.  Even when we fail Him, He’s there to pick us up.  He’s there to sing us a song.


The Lord Your God is With You!

In one of the most amazing verses in scripture, the Bible describes the deep and abiding love God has for us.   O how hard it is in this generation to believe that God loves us; that God cares for us; that God treasures us and that God is concerned about EVERY detail in our lives.

He wants to be with us.  But could it be that we underestimate the joy God has in His people?  Could it be that we too often think God is annoyed, irritated, or angry with us?

Faulty as the Christian church is at times, the Lord rejoices in her. While we mourn, as well we may, yet we do not sorrow as those that are without hope; for God does not sorrow, his heart is glad, and he is said to rejoice with joy- a highly emphatic expression.

-Charles Haddon Spurgeon, A Sermon for the Time Present, 1887

God is inviting us on to the dance floor!  What a word of hope, of encouragement.  Can you think of anything more wonderful and more humbling?   The Lord, the Creator God, Almighty God sings over you!  No matter what is happening in our life, no matter our trials and mountains to climb, God is with us every step of the way.

Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God.”  Let God sing to you.  Find your rest in Him.

In 1958, rock star Eddie Cochran recorded a song which has been covered many times over.  It’s called “Summertime Blues.”  Part of that song says “But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.”  Sinatra_singer-63055_300x370

But friends, Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God is a Singer, and that He Himself grabs the microphone and snuggles real close with His song.  He wants to chase away your “summertime blues”!

Great singers can take your hand (sometimes literally) and make you feel that they’re only singing to you.  The song that they’re singing will lift you up. God can and wants to do the same thing for you.


Did God Speak… or Did He Sing?

Genesis chapter 1 tells us that the world came into existence when God “Said.”

  • God Said:  Let there be lightglobe-329567_640
  • God said:  Let there be an expanse between the waters
  • God Said:  Let there be dry ground
  • God Said:  Let there be vegetation
  • God said:  Let there be lights to separate the day from night
  • God said:  Let the water team with living creatures
  • God said:  Let the land produce living creatures
  • God said:  Let us make man in our own image

God Said…. and it was…. and it was good.

But then Jesus comes along and John calls Him the Word.  As we saw a few weeks ago, Jesus is The Word who spoke everything into existence!

When God was creating the world… speaking it into existence and calling it good, could it be that He was rejoicing over it with joyful songs?

In the “Magicians Nephew, written by CS Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia series, the character portraying God (Aslan) is found SINGING Narnia into existence!

Here’s what CS Lewis writes (page 62)…

In the darkness something was happening at last.  A voice had begun to sing… it seemed to come  from all directions at once…  its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words.  There was hardly even a tune.  But it was beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful Digory could hardly bear it.


Creator, Rock Star… and Parent…

According to the text, God is not only our Creator.  He is our loving, caring encouraging, restoring, ever-present Parent.ChapelWin- Good Shepherd _DCP_7051xCropSheep

The prophet says that God is “in the midst” of us.

  • He is “looking out for our best.”
  • He is “rejoicing over us.”
  • He will “rest in His love.”
  • He  will “Sing to us.”

Music is many things, but here it is comfort to the crying child.  And so personal and intimate.  God composes a song with us in mind, and sings it to us.  Just like a mother who sings to her crying infant,  God sings to us in the same way.  Just as a baby focuses on his mother and even tries to sing with her, God wants us to focus on Him and to sing along.



God Meets Us Where We Are…

I love how John Piper describes it in his book “The Pleasures of God” (page 180).  “When I hear God, I hear___

The booming of Niagara Falls…
… mingled with the trickle of a mountain stream.
The blast of Mt. Saint Helens…
… mingled with a kitten’s purr.
The power of an East Coast hurricane…
… and the puff of a night snow in the winter.
The unimaginable roar of the sun…
…mingled with the tender warm crackling of a cozy winter’s fireplace.

I love that description because it tells me that God meets us right where we are.  It’s not like turning on the radio and hearing an awe inspiring song.  God’s song is a song that’s very personalized.  A song that’s written, orchestrated, and delivered just for YOU!  God’s song for YOU is life affirming and very personal.  Like the audience Zephaniah was writing to, when we too hear our rock star God singing in our ears and to our hearts, it’s awe inspiring, intimate, and transforming.

God rejoices over us with singing.  It’s the picture of pleased and joyful parent, but perhaps in this case more of a mother than a father.  In the light of quieting us with His love and singing over us, doesn’t it make you think of the classic lullaby:

Hush little darling, don’ t you cry.  Mama’s gonna sing you a lullaby. 

And when that lullaby is through, Mama’s gonna stay right here with you. 

And if you wake up in the night, Mama’s gonna make everything all right. 

Hush little darling don’t you weep. 

Mamma’s gonna stay here until you sleep.

There’s an incredible tenderness and intimacy in Zephaniah 3 that in some ways is even stronger than the sentiments in that lullaby.  God promises to come to us and quiet us with His love and rejoice over us with singing.

Have you heard God’s song?  If not, listen, look… and turn the radio up!


 Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…


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