What comes to mind when you think of your father? What was he like? Do you have fond memories of a loving childhood or do you rather not think about it? Father God is unlike any earthly father.
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” Zephaniah 3:17
Dancing for joy
Our family story goes that once upon a time, some 67 years ago, my father walked home from the hospital where his dear wife just had given birth to a baby girl. After three sons, he finally had a daughter… me. He was ecstatic, over the moon, overjoyed and because it was in the middle of the night – no trams or buses available in Amsterdam – he had to
walk, but he didn’t walk… he danced all the way home.
Wow, he must really love me for dancing all the way home
Over the years I heard this story many times and this was so unlike the gently smiling, quiet and somewhat introvert dad I knew, that this story had a huge impact on me. And as a kid, I thought: Wow, he must really love me for dancing all the way home, just because he had me for a daughter.
By the way, this was not to say that I was treated any different than my brothers and sisters. We were the baby boom generation and when our family was complete, we had 7 children, but our parents had no favorites; they equally loved us.
Love of a father
It was only later that I fully realized that ‘the story of my dancing dad’ had engraved a deep truth in my soul and spirit: My father loves me! He was really, really happy to have me. Probably without being aware of it, my dad was an image, an example of the love that our heavenly Father has for me and not only for me, for you as well and for all His children. It had nothing to do with me as a person, for being so nice and clever, beautiful or extra special. God loves me and I never ever doubted that.
There is hope
Maybe you think… well, that’s all very nice, but my past was totally different, my dad was never around, my dad was not much of a loving father at all – and I have great difficulty in picturing God as a loving father. I can only see Him as an angry man ready to hit me over the head when I do something wrong. all the hurt and pain you went through, but please know this, there is hope! It does not have to stay that way. God is not like your earthly father. He is a loving Father with a plan of restoration for His people Israel, but also for you and me.
God is rejoicing over His daughter Zion
Please, read the verses below from Zephaniah 3:14-17, as if written to you personally, our God is crying out to you to forget the past, to come to Him and rejoice with Him. He is rejoicing over His daughter Zion, and also over you.
To me, the English translation of the last verse of this Scripture is a little vague compared to the original in Hebrew. The Hebrew speaks with a deep passion. Verse 17 says three times that God is rejoicing over His daughter Zion, but each time another – more intense word is used: first of all it speaks of gladness [simchah], then of God being cheerful [sîys] and then God is rejoicing in exuberantly, spinning around for joy [gîyl] Out of love for you and me. He will rest in silent satisfaction and makes no mention of past sins or even recalls them (see Ampl.Version). He will exult over you with singing.
Please, take the time to meditate on these words. Let them wash all the hurt and pain away, giving you the courage to put your trust in our heavenly Father. In His love, He is patiently waiting for you. Don’t be afraid, take that step towards Him…
No one has greater love.
Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. 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.”
Read also: God is after your heart