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. — Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
If you’ve ever heard me give my testimony, you know part of what I share is being a little girl twirling around next to my biological daddy, wishing I could know he loved me.
Maybe in his own way he did. But something was broken in our relationship that left me feeling desperate for reassurance. Especially when he packed up all his things and left our family for good.
It’s hard when the ones who are supposed to love us and lead us well, don’t.
Maybe that statement rings painfully true for you. As we open up Zephaniah 3 together today, we will see it was a reality for the children of Israel too.
Zephaniah 3:3-4 vividly portrays the type of leadership the Israelites were under:
Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning. Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy; they do violence to the law. (ESV)
I can’t help but read these words and think about how easy it would have been for God’s people to point their fingers and attribute their sinful ways to the ones who led them.
But instead of fixing their eyes on the faults of their leaders, God invited them to redirect their focus to the goodness found in Him. He alone is righteous. He alone does no wrong (Zephaniah 3:5).
And instead of casting blame, God instructed them to own their sin and call upon His name (Zephaniah 3:9). He alone had the power to heal their hearts and remove their shame.
The prophet Zephaniah went on to reveal why the Israelites could feel safe placing all their trust in the Lord:
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. — Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
This description of their God and King points back to one of Israel’s first kings, David, who was both a warrior and a musician. It also paints an incredible picture of hope. One of a heavenly Father who not only loves His people and saves them but also sings over them with joy.
This may be an image we struggle to connect with in our own lives, though. Especially if our experiences with earthly leadership have left us feeling unloved, unprotected, and uncertain to the point we don’t want to risk trusting anyone again. All too often, our view of God is tainted by the people who have failed us.
And it can be so tempting to point to hurts from our past and say, “All my issues can be linked back to what other people did to me.”
Trust me. I know.
It’s been more than twenty-five years since I’ve seen my dad — by his choice. That’s hard on a girl’s heart. But God doesn’t want us to stay stuck in our places of blame and hurt. He wants to heal us and help us move forward.
Where my dad fell so short, God has filled in the gaps. Through His promises, I’ve been reassured of all those things I wished my earthly father would have said.
I have learned that God’s love for me is deep, unwavering, and certain.
I don’t know what from your past still causes you pain today, friend. Perhaps you feel defeated and discouraged. Head down in shame. Hands hanging limp like the children of Israel. Or maybe what you faced has left your heart raging. Fists balled tight. Chin lifted in defiance. A heart ready to battle anyone who might try to hurt you again.
But I do know that the only thing that will stop the desperation, the uncertainties, the insecurities, is to realize those people who unfairly rejected us were putting their own hurt on display much more than making a defining statement about you. I want you to remember that just because they projected hurt on you doesn’t mean you have to carry it the rest of your life or let it define you in any way. What they did doesn’t mean you only deserve scraps of love from others.
You are fully known and fully loved by a God whose greatest joy is to be with you.
I pray these truths flood your heart with peace like they do mine. Peace that gives you permission to live like you are loved.
Because you are.
Deeply. Abundantly. And with a love that will not fail.
God, thank You for being a God who fights for me and takes delight in me. Even when I feel rejected and abandoned by those who have not loved me well, give me the ears to hear the song of love You’re singing over my heart and life today. Thank You for your perfect, never-failing love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Excerpted with permission from Seeing Beautiful Again by Lysa TerKeurst, copyright Lysa TerKeurst.
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It goes without saying… the sting of rejection from someone you look up to or believed you could trust with anything doesn’t heal overnight. If you’ve experienced this deeply, what has your healing process looked like? Come share on our blog!