Zephaniah 3:17, "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."
When I was a child my Mom would sing me songs. She would sing me a waking up song, "Today I will be happy..." She'd sing it with laughter in her voice and my morning grumpies would melt away. And sometimes she'd sing songs just to make me laugh. Like the one that talked about a birdie who would sit on the steeple and poopie on the people. As a little boy that was funny stuff and we would laugh and laugh.
But there was one song she might sing several times a day. Often she would sing it before bed. This was a song of her love for me. Its words spoke of her utter delight in me. "You are my sunshine," she would sing and I would look into her curiously sparkling eyes and try to sing along. There was a love etched into her singing that I found, even today, deep and amazing. She, of course, would often say, "I love you," but when she sang to me I didn't just hear the words, I experienced them. I swam in love and sank into love. I danced in love and basked in the warmth of the flames of love.
My Mom has been gone for some time but if I hear a song she sang over me today it instantly stops me. I bow my head, listen and smile. Even as a grown man I'm a child again feeling her love cascade inside me; marveling again at her delight in me.
And I don't know whether it was her intention or not, but when I think of God singing over me I do not just give intellectual ascent to His love, I experience it. I sink down into it. I float on top of it. I bask in its warmth. I smile and try to sing along. Even so, just like with my Mom, there is a depth to the love of God that remains a mystery to me. I am mesmerized by it, enchanted by it, and soundly mystified by it. That God should delight in you, that God should sing songs over you, this is the greatest mystery of existence.
Jean Fleming writes, "When I picture God's rejoicing over his people with singing, I think of Snowflake Bentley. Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, a New England farmer born in 1865, couldn't get enough of snowflakes. For forty years, he ran around in the snow, raucously joyful, catching snowflakes on chilled slides and photographing them, seeking to capture for others the beauty he saw in those one-of-a-kind masterpieces of frozen crystals. Over his lifetime, he photographed more than five thousand individual snowflakes. His notes were effusive: "No. 785 is so rarely beautiful." He wrote of the "feast of [their] beauty." As I imagine Snowflake careening in the snow, giddy with joy, I marvel with the psalmist, "LORD, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow" (Psalm 144:3-4). I'm like a vanishing, vaporous breath, and God cares for me." [Jean Fleming, Pursue the Intentional Life (NavPress, 2013), page 50]
Who are you that God should delight in you, sing over you? Well, you are His child. "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1). We are the children He delights in and sings to. Can you hear it?
At some quiet moment today stop, bow your head and listen. Can you hear it?—the edge of some refrain that God is singing over you? Hear the words of love he sings over you and you will not simply hear God say, "I love you," you will experience it, bask in it, sink down into it. Shhhhh! I think I can hear Him singing over you even now.
Prayer: Our Good Father—the One who delights in us, who sings over us in love—we are mystified, mesmerized by Your song. All of Heaven must stand stock still when You open Your mouth to sing, and marvel even deeper at whom You sing to. Help us to stop and listen. Help us to hear the melody leap up inside us today. We can't fathom Your love, only experience it. Forgive us when the song we sing back isn't as beautiful. We can only love You because You first loved and sang to us. But we do. In Jesus name, amen.