It's easy, as a believer in Christ, to see my wretchedness. To see all the evil and sickness that is constantly warring with my new self. It's easy for me to imagine God's judgment on Shelby-the-sinner because I know the depths of my depravity; I know how bad I can be in my heart and in my mind. I know I am prone to selfishness and pride and a judgmental, critical spirit. I know I want control, of my life and everyone around me. I can be a complaining, self-centered, lazy, argumentative, arrogant jerk. I want to be admired and loved and respected, which are desires that sometimes win out over doing what is right. Despicable Me... that is often how I see myself, especially in light of the grace and holiness and goodness of a powerful God who sent His Son to save me from all of these things.
And while it is important to see and acknowledge our sin - important to understand the state of our fallen nature - it's also important not to dwell there once we have been set free from it all. And that is what this verse reminds me of.
The Lord, the Mighty God, the Creator of the universe, spoke through Zephaniah to His people and told them, even in the middle of their rebellion and hatefulness, that He was preparing an unimaginable gift for them. He was going to remove their sins and their guilt by the offering of His Son, and He was going to save them.
And then, He's not going to hold their wickedness over their heads and constantly remind them of the great sacrifice He made, as though He's waiting for them to repay the debt...
He's not going to mock them in their weaknesses and stumblings as they learn to really wear the righteousness He gives them...
He's not going to stand and wait for them to fail, ready to snatch away the gift He freely gave them...
No. That is not what this God is like.
Yes, he is a God of justice, and yes, there are consequences for evil. But when He saves us, it brings Him joy. When we are united with Him through faith in Jesus' work, we are adored and cherished and prized like a Groom loves his Bride, like a Father with his little Child.
He is rejoicing over you with gladness!
He will quiet your fears, your anxiety, your doubts, your heartache...
He will quiet you by His love!
And He is delighted, overjoyed, elated, and
exulting over you with loud singing!
He is in love with you!
If you don't know this God and don't have this relationship, please know that He desires to do all of these things over you, and all He requires of you is that you taste and see that He is good, and then hand yourself over to Him and His unfailing mercy and love.