Bible Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20
“And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.” [Luke 15:23-25]
One of the most beautiful pictures in the Bible is of the father rejoicing when his lost son has returned home. He is just so excited and filled with joy. Yesterday I watched an excited Chelsea football captain going wild with delight over playing a draw with Arsenal. That is just about a football match! Imagine how our heavenly Father and all of heaven rejoice with Him over His lost son coming home. Twice in Luke chapter 15 we read that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents [verse 7,10].
Many people think of God as a killjoy but He is the very opposite of this. When He holds a party there is eating, merriment, music and dancing. Let’s take closer look at another verse that speaks of this joyful God. In Zephaniah 3:17 we read, “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Here is a God who saves us, rejoices over us, quietens us and sings over us!
What makes God rejoice? In our reading today, we see that it is when His people trust Him [verse 12], live righteously [verse 13], and rejoice in Him [verse 14-15]. Then God delights in them. His is not an emotionless contentment but it bursts forth in joyful, divine celebration.
At the banquet that the father held for his son who came home, there was dancing. Several years ago, my wife and I were ministering at the retreat for our church creative ministries staff in Singapore. A renowned cellist, Gerard le Feuvre was with us and blessed us with his music through the retreat. On the last night, he started to play a particular piece of music and immediately Elaine, a well-known former ballerina, recognised the music and began to dance. She took the hand of Grace and they danced together. It was one of those special moments when the presence of God was so real that you could never forget it. It was almost as though God Himself was dancing with joy in the midst of people who made His heart glad.
What is your concept of our heavenly Father? If it has been damaged by an earthly father who was hard, or distant, or unable to express love to you, then would you ask your heavenly Father to heal your heart?
What do you think God’s reaction is when He looks at you? Is He joyful, singing and celebrating?
What can you do today to bring great joy and pleasure to the heart of our heavenly Father?