‘Heaven’s perfect melody
The Creator’s symphony
You are singing over me
The Father’s song.
Heaven’s perfect mystery
The king of love has sent for me
And now you’re singing over me
The Father’s song.’
Matt Redman, The Father’s Song
As I’ve been thinking about intimacy with God recently I have found that it is a challenge. But it also comes with the immense privilege of being called into God’s family as his child. Today I wonder about what this all actually means. I don’t have all the answers but none-the-less here’s my random musings about Zephaniah 3:17.
The picture that is painted here is one of intimacy. It’s God being present and celebrating with his people. Think about this for a moment. When this was written there was an understanding that the people were God’s people, he was kinda with them but ultimately the Temple was his dwelling place. His presence wasn’t really a personal presence. Contextually this is written to Judah warning of God’s judgement and his bringing them back from exile. This is where this verse fits. It’s an image of intimate restoration.
I can relate to this as a father. I don’t like seeing bad things happen to my kids and when they do I am all too willing to open my arms and draw them close. This is what I see God doing as I read this verse. His arms are open welcoming his people in. But notice the expression of joy. He will rejoice with gladness, quiet you by love and exult with loud singing. I don’t really think about God as a singing God (isn’t that what we do?) but I understand the tenderness of the moment. I, too, sing with my kids (even though most of the time it tends to be about bodily functions) and when they are having bad dreams and crying I sing to bring them peace. These are times I wouldn’t trade. If this is true for me as a human father, how much more so intimate are the times when our Heavenly Father is singing over us?
Finally I can’t help but be drawn back to the 1st line, ‘God is in your midst’. This just reminds me of Jesus. It was written about him that he would be known as Emmanuel – ‘God is with us’. What a striking parallel that the one who is with us is also the one who saves. Surely it is only because of Jesus that our ears can be attuned to hearing God’s intimate melody in our life. As is true for much of the Christian life, we experience things as if in a shadowland. And so I wait till the day when I hear in full the song that God sings.