He Will Quiet You by His Love
One of the things we most want in life is to be loved. We want our parents and siblings to love us. We want our friends and extended family members to love us. We want our coaches and teachers to love us. If we are married, we want our spouse to love us. If we are parents, we desire our children to love us. But in this broken world, there are many relationships in which we feel unloved and unwanted. So, we end up turning to other things to fulfill this deep desire of our hearts, but none of them quench our thirst for love. In fact, we often feel even emptier than when we began because our search for love in the wrong places leaves us disillusioned, depressed, and devoid of joy.
Where then do we turn to find true love? The answer is found in one of the most neglected books of the Old Testament, the book of Zephaniah. There are three main points that arise from Zephaniah’s prophecy. First, Zephaniah declared and described God’s coming judgment on Israel and the nations (1:1-18). In the past God had stretched out His hand upon Israel’s enemies, but now He will stretch out His hand upon His people because of their idolatry and immorality. Although Zephaniah’s prophecy was immediately fulfilled when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, his prophetic words ultimately allude to the final day of judgment (see 2 Pet. 3:7).
Second, Zephaniah pronounced a woe upon the nations and Jerusalem concerning God’s judgment (Zeph. 2:1-3:8). The purpose of his message was not all doom and gloom. Zephaniah holds out hope to all who will repent of their sin and return to the Lord, in whom redemption and righteousness is found. While the enemies of God’s people are judged for their pride, violence and idolatry, God’s people are judged for rebelling against the Lord and His ways, rejecting His correction, and refusing to trust in Him.
The third part of Zephaniah’s prophecy, and the portion in which we find the answer to the question above (Where is true love found?), declares that the remnant of God’s people would be restored (3:9-20). In these verses we learn that God will save a people for Himself from every tribe, tongue and nation (vv. 9-10). They would find refuge in the Lord, their tender Shepherd (vv. 11-13). They could rejoice because the Lord is their King who has defeated their enemies (vv. 14-15). No longer did they need to fear; now they could trust in the Lord their God, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (v. 17).
But how can this be? How can a holy God rejoice over His people with gladness and exult over them with loud singing? Scripture provides us with the answer. Sinners “are justified by [God’s] grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:24-26).
Are you lonely today? The Lord promises to be present with us. Is one of your loved ones in need of salvation? The Lord is mighty to save. Do you want to feel wanted? The Lord rejoices over His people with gladness. Are you seeking love? The Lord promises to quiet those who trust in Him by His love. Has life left you devoid of joy? The Lord exults over His elect with loud singing.
Dear reader, if you think that these promises are for everyone else except you, look carefully at who He will save, “I will save the lame and gather the outcast” (Zeph. 3:19). If you think that nothing can ever take away your shame, hear the promise of the Lord, “I will change their shame into praise” (v. 19). If you think that no one could ever love you, be encouraged by the word of the Lord, “I will bring you in” (v. 20). If you think that all is lost because of your sin and suffering, meditate on the promise that the Lord will “restore your fortunes” (v. 20). These promises will be consummately fulfilled in the new Jerusalem, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev. 21:3). So today, if you are turning to other people or other things to fulfill the deep desire to be quieted by love and exulted over with singing, stop. Run to Jesus. In Christ alone will your desire for true love be satisfied.
Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Reformed author, wife, homeschooling mom, Bible study teacher, and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina, and is a member of Christ Covenant Church (PCA). To learn more, please visit www.sarahivill.com.