by Lonnie Lane
Did you know that God sings? He sings over us with gladness and great rejoicing as One who has fully accomplished the deep desires of His heart. Here’s what brings Him to overflow with such joyful song while commanding us to do the same:
“Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. 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’” (Zeph. 3:14-17).
This prophetic passage isn’t telling us that Israel would have gotten it all perfect (finally) because they won’t; none of us will. It was because He had accomplished on their behalf what they were incapable of for themselves. It is not only a promise to Israel yet to be fulfilled unto completion, but as most prophesies have a “now and not yet” reality to them, there is much of this that is for whose lives belong to the Lord now.
“There are some who study such things as the power of sound to create, who believe that God may well have sung creation into existence.”
When it’s all over and God has accomplished all that concerns Israel, which is to say all that concerns mankind, what does He do? He sings! He lets the joy that is His nature burst forth in song over us. What does the voice of the Almighty sound like? What happens when He sings? Something must. Can you imagine how the sound of it would ricochet throughout the universe, bouncing off of stars, causing the Milky Way to dance with joy at the sound of it? Once, the vibrations caused by the sound of His glorious voice caused “nothing” to coalesce into matter, emptiness to become something, and light to burst forth and overtake the darkness (See Genesis 1). What would the sound of His singing of the accomplishment of ultimate salvation to His creation bring about? The new heaven and new earth perhaps? I wonder. There are some who study such things as the power of sound to create who believe that God may well have sung creation into existence. There is, they say, vibrations in all that exists so that when they somehow are able to “tape” these vibrations, they are as music resonating in everything in creation. Perhaps we get a peek into that here: “Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth” (1 Chronicles 16:32, 33). Obviously, from this, the trees are not fearful of His judgment, but are singing in anticipation of the restoration of all things to righteousness in His presence. How awesome is that?
If God was so excited that He revealed through the prophet Zephaniah His anticipated joy at the culmination, the crowning consummation, the pinnacle of His work to remove all evil from His creation, would He who sung, or at least spoke creation into being, knowing the end from the beginning, not already sing in anticipation of it? Not sing over us in the partial fulfillment of it? True, He has not entirely “cast out our enemy” yet, but He has told us, “I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you”(Luke 10:19). We may not all know how to walk in that experientially, but it is still the Truth! It’s a matter of believing it is true for us today. Lord, give us the revelation and the faith to walk in all that You have purchased for us by Your blood. Amen.
Knowing that there would be pain, for Himself beyond what we can ever comprehend, as well as for us, that the fullness of His character and nature will be restored to all that exists – forever, is enough to sing about, if singing is, as it appears to be, the natural outflow of joy. Being that joy is resident within God, what flows from Him to those with whom He is one, is likewise joy. Joy is there for the taking, for the believing and the receiving. Joy isn’t about circumstances, it’s about being one with God and knowing we are safe in Him regardless of what comes to us. It is knowing the One who is joy!
I had a dear friend, an Israeli believer, who died of cancer. In much pain and weakness, he one day told me, “Underneath the pain and even the confusion, there’s still joy, because I know I’m His and I know there’s eternity in His presence. My hope and anticipation is only of His goodness.” David said, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11). That too is enough to sing about. Or perhaps to bring us, in peaceful humility, to “be quiet in His love.”
Certainly, we know that through the work of Yeshua on the cross, He has taken away our judgments. I sometimes just sit and ponder the enormity of that. It becomes easy to take the peace of God for granted, just because it’s so peaceful. Oh, yes, we may have concerns and worries, cares and concerns, but most of them we’re carrying when we don’t have to, because “surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). Last night in my Kosher Bible Study class, one woman asked for prayer for her daughter for some situation which she anticipated was going to be very difficult for her: being alone on Christmas. As I listened to her tell the story, something made me ask, “Is this difficult for you or for her?” She answered, “Well, if it were me….” She had projected her own feelings onto her daughter who, it turned out, was looking forward to working that day and sharing it with her co-workers, even if her kids were elsewhere with her ex. We led her in a prayer to release her concerns and her past hurts of a similar situation in her own life to the Lord and to receive His “comfort and joy.” This is a season for “comfort and joy,” after all. But then, in Him, when is it not?
I’m sure there are far more critical issues in people’s lives than this one, but isn’t it wonderful that our good-beyond-our-comprehension Lord Yeshua really “has taken away (our) judgments” and as a result of that, as the verses above state, we will “see disaster no more.” I know, some of you are saying, “How can she say that with the terrible things that happen in the world? Evil does still exist.” But let’s step up to where God is and look out at the world from there. Has He not promised so that “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”(Romans 8:28)? Are there any exemptions to that promise? He said “all things.” Our part is to love Him so that our delight is also to obey Him. Then we can sing with David, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
Further more, In order for disaster not to overtake us, we must see things as He sees them. How does that happen? Has He not put us where He is? Even though we are still standing feet on the ground just as we did before we gave our lives to Him and were born again of His Spirit, our own spirits, our true and inner-most being is now united with Yeshua. And where is He? Seated “at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2b). Now, talk about not being able to accomplish a feat for ourselves? How did we who can’t really even comprehend what holy means, let alone be holy enough to save ourselves, find ourselves so “together” and “one” with God? Because, “even when we were dead in our transgressions, (God) made us alive together with Messiah (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua” (Eph. 2:5-6). This is one of those “now and not yet” verses. We are “saved” by His great grace toward us, and if we are saved, we are able to receive and comprehend the ways of the Spirit of God even though we still live in this natural realm. We can receive revelation from God of things the world cannot understand. If you’ve ever tried to share the Lord with someone who just doesn’t get it, or if you’ve had that same experience yourself, the reason is “…a natural man (a person without God’s indwelling Spirit) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14). To spiritually evaluate or assess something spiritual, it can only be given to us by God himself. When Yeshua asked His disciples “Who do you say that I am?” and Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” Yeshua said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-17). He didn’t just figure that out on his own.
If you have accepted from God that Yeshua has “taken away your judgments,” and have repented and turned from your previous sin and independence from God, then the Spirit of God will come to dwell within you and you are able to know Him personally. He will teach you of Himself and be your constant Companion and Friend as only God in His holiness and love can be to us, so personally and intimately. To say it in other words, if you accept that by Yeshua’s death on the cross He paid the penalty for your sins against God (all sin is against God first, then against people), and you have told Him so, you and God are no longer separated and you have become His son or His daughter. That is cause for joyful singing. You’ve been made clean of your sins by God’s generous offer of salvation to you.
“Our spirits will ultimately be made perfect as He, Yeshua, is perfect. Then we can know His joy.”
What goes on in the hearts of people ‘down here’ on earth is known in heaven. Heaven is not disassociated from the affairs of people on earth. In fact, “I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10). They know when we come to the Lord and they rejoice, knowing the joy that is the repentant person’s destiny in the presence of the Lord and His saints forever. When you come to the Lord, in the spiritual sense, “you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and congregation of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Heb. 12:22, 23). Our spirits will ultimately be made perfect as He, Yeshua, is perfect. Then we can know His joy. Yeshua told His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11). If you are a disciple of His and of His word, then “your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:22). There may be reasons that we allow ourselves to be robbed of joy on this earth – it’s not always good and righteous, is it? But our eternal destiny is one of unhindered and unending joy. When all of the Fall is removed, then what is left is the environment and the character and nature of “the Kingdom of God (which is) righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
In the meantime, God is at work within you in order to “make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Messiah Yeshua, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:21). The word, “amen” added to a text means “that it may be so.” It underscores what’s being said as if to make it a declarative statement. (So don’t be “amening” negative statements, just because you agree they may be true, okay?) But we sure can say “amen” to God working within us what is pleasing in His sight because that can only be good and pleasurable to us. It may be that God is dealing with us on some issue for our own good. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). Then “He will quiet you with His love,” as Zephaniah prophesied (3:17).
When we are at peace with God, we are at rest in Him. Let that soak through your spirit for a few moments. You’ll probably feel your body relax. If you’re too much in a hurry to read on, you probably need to do some meditating on just this issue. Have you allowed Him to bring you to a place of quietness in His love for you? If so, you know there’s no where else you’d rather be. There is no greater peace, no deeper rest, than to be quiet in His love. No striving, no shame, no “I oughta” or “I shouldda” or “I shouldn’ta” – just “casting all our anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). There are two ways to look at that last verse. I remember when I decided to stop worrying and cast my cares unto Him as a new believer. In my naiveté I actually thought He would worry for me, instead of me. He never worries, of course, but He does do the caring so as to take care of the situations that concern us. He also cares for us personally, not just the situations.
Situations can be hard. Fortunately for us we have Yeshua who went through the worst of all trials and came forth without succumbing to sin or self. He remains the Captain we follow in our own trials. He endured through shame and pain we can’t imagine for the holy sinless Son of God as He unselfishly gave His life as a ransom for us. Is there a part that we must play? “Fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). How can we “fix our eyes” or look at someone unless we are near them. You can’t see what is out of range for your sight. But we have been brought close to Him in the spirit so that we can “see” Him in our minds eye, by His Spirit. There are so many visuals in the Bible for us to focus on and to imagine. Our imaginations are given to us as part of our “in His image” nature by God. God imagines. To plan you must imagine. If God didn’t plan things, how could He bring them to pass. If He didn’t first imagine it in the Spirit realm where He is, He couldn’t call them into being in the physical realm. He “sees” the beginning from the end. For us that would be imagining it. For Him, it is knowing the beginning from the end and bringing it to pass. Creation by its very nature must have what we call “imagination” as it is the stuff out of which any creation is born. That we can be creative is an expression of being created in the image of the Creator.
Faith has much to do with “seeing.” The eleventh chapter of Hebrews talks much about faith and what men and women of faith in the Old Covenant “saw.” “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance” (Hebrews 11:13). We are told of Moses, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (11:27). What is unseen in the natural realm can be seen in the Spirit. Moses had no Yeshua to picture, but we do. There are so many pictures of God and Yeshua in the Bible for us to feast our spiritual eyes and sanctified imaginations on.
But talk about seeing “from a distance” (11:13b), as far back as Job who was likely a contemporary of Isaac’s and first book of the Bible actually written (prior to Moses writing the Torah), he appears to have had great revelation of Yeshua, for he “saw” God as his redeemer, and of the resurrection of his soul to be with God. To me, this is one of the most profound and glorious declarations in Scripture. It is the culmination and consummation of all that God will do for mankind. Job’s assurance rolls over us like thunder, the vibrations creating in us an assurance of our own that we too will share this with Job who said, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God Whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another” (Job 19:25-27).
To this I want to shout, Amen! To this I want to sing: “Now I know my Redeemer lives. Let all creation testify.” I think I just heard in the spirit a thousand voices singing it with me.
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Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.