“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
I regularly babysit my 3 year old grandson. For the longest time we go here and there in his and his mom’s condo putting out pretend fires. All he wants to be when he grows up is a firefighter. He runs and I seek to come as fast as my aching legs and cane allow. We quickly put the fire out and collapse exhausted for two minutes until he hears the alarm ring once more in the firehall of his bedroom.
When play time is over I sit down and he climbs up on my lap and snuggles into me. This is every grandpa’s dream. I sing about Jesus to him, tell him how much his Mom, Gramma and Grandpa and all of the family love him and he rests peacefully with his head on my chest. He is a big boy for his age but his Grandpa is a big man. The size difference is still significant.
He seems perfectly content to stay there for 45 minutes or longer as I tell him stories and assure him of how important he is to our family.
Tonight as I prepared to see him again, I realized that I was looking forward to the visit greatly. Then our verse for today came to mind along with several others that have the same imagery of the Lord in the presence of His people.
I am an old man and the strength of my youth is long gone. My grandson will soon awaken to that fact, but for now he thinks I am as strong as a movie hero except for the cane. His perception of reality shall change—as we all know—and soon he will be the strong young man who may be of physical help to his grandpa.
The picture of the Lord with His people is like the one of me and my grandson in incidental ways, but not in the really substantial ways. Our verse tells us God is the Mighty Warrior and so He is. Then the verse tells us how He uses His omnipotence to save His people.
Again and again in Scripture the Lord is pictured as the Redeemer, the Deliverer, the Good Shepherd, the Rock of His people. It seems the Bible exhausts the many physical portraits around us to explain how thoroughly God is all sufficient for the needs of His beloved children.
So, if an elderly grandpa can derive such pleasure holding and singing to one beautiful little grandchild, how much more, how very much more, does our loving Father in heaven find joy and delight in holding us close and assuring us of how precious we are to Him? “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)
“Draw near to us today Lord Jesus, hold us close and let us sense your powerful and loving arms around us.”