ODJ: The Laughter of Love

April 23, 2018 

READ: Zephaniah 3:9-17 

The Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness... He will rejoice over you with joyful songs (v.17).

When we first welcomed a fifteen year old Chinese exchange student into our family, we thought it would be for only one year of high school. But years later he’s still part of the family. And we’ve added his younger brother to our growing group. Both young men were quiet and a bit reclusive when they first arrived—adapting to a new culture. But it’s been beautiful to see their hearts open to God’s love and to our own. Their faces now typically display smiles, and laughter effortlessly spills from their lips.

The prophet Zephaniah comforted God’s people with the promise of a coming time of healing so complete they would rejoice again, even sing. He said, “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!” (Zephaniah 3:14). But why were they to smile and sing? Because God promised to “remove his hand of judgement and . . . disperse the armies of [their] enemy” (v.15).

Though the people had been “ashamed” and had probably withdrawn from God and His love (v.11), something new and exciting was happening. Newly crowned, young King Josiah was on the scene in Judah, and he would one day lead the people in following God again—rejoicing in Him alone.

But most important, God was with them. The prophet said, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (vv.16-17).

Let those words wash over your heart. In Jesus, you’re loved by God, and He rejoices and sings over you. That’s enough to make one smile . . . and laugh!

—Tom Felten

365-day plan: 2 Kings 2:1-12

Read Psalm 103:8-13 and bask in the reality of God’s amazing love. 
How can God’s love cause joy to bubble up from your heart? What does it mean for you to know that He sings and rejoices over you?