we make God sing. that should make us sing.
there was a time when I liked musicals. and I know a lot of the songs. but anymore I think musicals are corny. to use their own words, I think they’re as ‘corny as Kansas in august’. people don’t break out in singing and dancing in normal life. I thought the best thing to happen to a Disney movie was when Phil Collins sang the songs, not Tarzan
what happens in a musical when people are happy? they start to sing. take ‘I feel pretty’ from WSS. or how about ‘zipedee do dah’? or our very own ‘oh what a beautiful morning’.
if people aren’t already happy, musicals tell them to get happy. Judy Garland told us ‘sing alleluiah, come on get happy’. or if we stretch outside of musicals a little to musical families we have the Partridge theme song ‘come on get happy’.
on the other hand, maybe I just take myself too seriously. because I like music that praises happiness and beauty, just so long as it’s a little more…I don’t know what. I’ll just tell you what I like. I like Louis Armstrong’s ‘wonderful world’ – ‘I see skies of blue. clouds of white…’. and I like U2s new song ‘beautiful day’. those songs aren’t much more dignified than the ones from musicals I guess.
so do you ever get like that? do you sing when you’re happy? have you ever been so happy that you had to sing? maybe just a couple of times in your life you’ve been that happy. don’t worry. you don’t have to answer out loud. you won’t be embarassed. just think about it.
we make God sing.
do you think God ever gets so happy that He sings?
probably not. a lot of us think of God as the great, unblinking cosmic stare. one philosopher I read said that if God’s life was as dull as a lot of the books say, He’d go right out of existence from boredom.
it’s funny. we believe in a personal God, a God that we get our personhood from. Bill said two weeks ago that we’re made in God’s image. any good part of us that is personal, we get from Him. God is more personal than we are. He’s more loving. He’s more interesting. He’s more powerful. He’s more wise. and He’s more joyful.
so why does it catch us off guard when Zephaniah says that we make God sing?
did you catch that? in ch3 v17 Zephaniah says that God will rejoice over us with singing. it started when Jesus began spreading the word about the kingdom and it’s going strong today and it will reach its full volume when Jesus comes again and God remakes creation.
but why? why do we make God that happy?
it’s hard for us to understand because we figure God’s probably unhappy with us, right? we would be unhappy with us if we were God. sure, maybe God loves us because He has to, but we figure He doesn’t really like us, and He’s surely always disappointed in us.
but, surprise, not only does God love us, He also likes us. He pities us. He sees that we’re made out of dust. He realizes that we are inestimably below Him.
God loves us. we make Him happy. we make God sing.
it’s a lot like having children. we don’t dislike our toddlers because they stumble and fall. we aren’t disappointed with them, even when they intentionally disobey.
God loves us. we make Him happy. we make God sing.
that should make us sing.
it’s Good News
what makes you shout? what makes you sing? anything?
do you ever get happy about God?
either we’re happy about God or we’re not.
if God’s love for us doesn’t make us happy in a fundamental kind of way, then we’re missing something.
I’m not talking about shallow happiness, like ‘don’t worry, be happy’. I’m not saying be happy for no reason. I’m saying be happy for the best reason.
have you been happy about God before? are you happy about God today?
if we’re not happy about God, it’s probably the case that we’re not in touch with what God can do.
maybe we’ve run into a wall of some kind. and it seems like God’s love can’t break it.
let me give you an example. a lot of people commit to a relationship with Christ and they’re excited and they get involved in church and ministry and they’re going along pretty well for a while, and then they hit a wall. they realize it’s tough to stay married. or they lose someone they love. or they lose their health. or their hopes and dreams are disappointed, like maybe they lose a business, or a church.
and they doubt God’s love for them. they doubt that God wants what’s best for them. they doubt that God wants better things for them than they want for themselves.
and then any number of things can happen: they stay in the church, but the joy’s gone. they ditch the church and never come back. fill in the blank: you know the stories.
another thing that can happen is you just take God for granted. the things God does for you mattered to you once upon a time, but they don’t anymore.
a big part of the problem is that we’re too focused on the things we want for us and when God doesn’t come through for us, we hate Him for it. all the while, God’s got a great plan for us that He wants us to get on board with, but we’re too busy chasing our own miniature vision.
it’s like God’s got this beautiful vision for our life with a pond and trees and little birdies and sunshine and we’re really focused on getting a birdbath.
we have begun a yearlong emphasis here at Redeemer called ‘The Building Blocks of Renewed Relationships’ and we’re starting off here at the beginning with the most fundamental relationship of all, our relationship with God. and one of the most fundamental things about that relationship, the thing that keeps it going, is God’s love for us.
we make God sing. that should make us sing.
look back at the text. v14 says sing! shout! rejoice! really, what we have here is a command. it’s probably not going to help you very much to think of it that way, but we’ve seen there’s a good reason for it.
we’re going to give you a chance to apply this now, a chance to sing, shout, and rejoice. the worship team’s going to come back to the stage. and as we sing, think about how you feel about God. His love is worth getting happy about. and if you don’t feel it, that’s fine. don’t fake it. don’t despair. think about it, and if your feelings point to any changes you might want to make. this is ‘shout to the Lord’
9 At that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord.
10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, my scattered ones, shall bring my offering.
11 On that day you shall not be put to shame because of all the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain.
12 For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD--
13 the remnant of Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths. Then they will pasture and lie down, and no one shall make them afraid.
14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!
15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak.
17 The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing
18 as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.
19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.
At that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord. My scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia will come to present their offerings. On that day you will not be put to shame for all of the ways you have rebelled against me; for I will remove all the proud people from among you, and you will no longer be arrogant on my holy mountain. I will leave the humble and lowly people among you. They will seek refuge in the name of the LORD—the remnant of Israel; they will not do wrong and utter lies. No one will deceive another. Then they will pasture and lie down, and no one will make them afraid.
Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, will live among you; you will not fear disaster any more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not be afraid. The LORD, your God, is among you, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will calm you with his love; he will rejoice over you with loud singing.
‘I will remove sorrow from you; you will not be disgraced any more. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and fame in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you famous and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,’ says the LORD.
- Zephaniah 3.9-20