What’s one of the greatest answers to our prayers? The gift of God’s cleansing, justifying, sanctifying, saving, empowering, and indwelling Holy Spirit! If our fathers know how to give good gifts, don’t you think the Father in heaven will give us and empower us with his Holy Spirit? So, pray! remember today you and I belong to Savior Jesus. Let’s ask, expect, and receive this incomparable gift.
Luke 11:9-13 New American Standard Bible
9 “So I say to you, [a]ask, and it will be given to you; [b]seek, and you will find; [c]knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now [d] which one of you fathers will his son ask for a [e]fish, and instead of a fish, he will give him a snake? 12 Or he will even ask for an egg, and his father will give him a scorpion? 13 So if you, despite being [f]evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [g]your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
We are sinners in the hands of a singing and dancing God!
How do we imagine God to be when we pray? Is He far from us or near? Is He assertive or passive or aggressive? Is He disgusted with us or in love with us? Is He a mean old unjust vengeful man, or is He a kindly grandpa-type, or neither? Is He deaf? Does He have even one or both His hearing aids in? Is He listening? Is He even looking in our direction? Does He even care for us? Can He help us?
What you believe about Father God is the most important thing contained in your heart and your mind and inside your soul. It affects everything about you. Specifically, what you and I believe about God affects the way you and I pray.
Unfortunately, there are many wrong perceptions of God that are commonly believed. These misconceptions distort our prayers and, in some cases, prevent people from praying altogether. For too many people, God seems far remote, impersonal, and unknowable. Because of that, even Christians suffer from an inability to feel merciful, forgiven, nagging doubt, mistrust of God, and even bouts with hyper-perfectionism, suffer from too much of our own humanity.
Our prayers are shaped by the way we picture God. A dysfunctional picture of God results in a dysfunctional way of praying and preaching.
Jesus revealed this truth;
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13 ESV)
Those which had a father who was never around when they needed him or has experienced trauma, abuse, or extreme discipline will have a challenging time preaching about personally pursuing an intimate, loving, singing, and trusting relationship with God as their Father.
They will see Him as a vengeful judge – spewing out wrath and retribution when sinners do by nature what they do best – sin! That’s why we need a Savior! Jesus forgave all sinners – in the past, present, and future – on the Cross.
It is up to humanity to accept the free gift of forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus by asking Him to become the Lord of their life and repenting of their sin and rejection of Him so that they can be reconciled back to God and experience an intimate relationship with their singing and dancing, celebrating Creator.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Ps 46:1 NIV)
God is right here, right now. Amid our trials and tribulations, He is there for us. We are never separated from His love and strength. The great Almighty God, the infinite Creator of the universe, takes great delight and unsurpassed joy from our relationship with Him.
“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)
“The Lord your God is in your midst,
A Warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with joy;
He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins],
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17 Amplified)
This verse is quite possibly one of the most poignant passages inside the Bible because it depicts the heavenly Father singing over His children and finding joy, celebrating in their presence, just as any good and loving parent would do.
VERSE BY VERSE
Let’s unpack the verse word by word.
“The Lord” (Heb: Yehovah = the self-existent eternal one)
“Your God” (Heb: Elohiym = the plural supreme God)
“Is in your midst” (Heb: Qereb = the nearest part at the center of it all)
“a mighty one” (Heb: Gibbor = a valiant and mighty warrior)
“who will save” (Heb: Yasha = to set free in safety)
“he will rejoice” (Heb: Sus/Siys = to be jubilant, leap for joy, to find a cause to be exceedingly happy over)
“over you” (Heb: Al = above, over, upon)
“with gladness” (Heb: Simhah = to be filled with joy and happiness; to be exceedingly pleased)
“he will quiet you” (Heb: Charash = to renew; engrave His rest upon you to be silent about your failures/sins)
“by His love” (Heb: Ahabah = a powerful and intimate covenant of faithful and affectionate love)
“he will exult over you” (Heb: Giyl/Al = to emotionally spin around over you rejoicing (i.e., dance!)
“with loud singing” (Heb: Rinnah = joyful crying out by shouting and singing of many songs)
In Scripture, the love of God is often expressed using the Hebrew word ‘hesed,’ which means a committed love that never fails and lives in the will as much as in the heart. As noted, the word used for “love” in Zephaniah is ‘ahaba.’
It is also used in the Bible regarding the passionate love of Jacob for Rachel (Genesis 29:20), Michal for David (1 Samuel 18:28), the warmhearted love of Jacob for Joseph (Genesis 37:3), Uzziah’s devotion to gardening (2 Chronicles 26:10), Jonathan’s deep friendship with David (1 Samuel 18:3), and also the devotee’s delight in the Lord’s law (Psalm 119:97).
This is also the definition of God’s love for His people, a love that delights Him and makes Him contemplate YOU with wordless adoration, a love that cannot be contained but bursts into ecstatic singing (Hosea 3:1; Zephaniah 3:17).
The verse is saying the self-existent, mighty, and powerful Triune God is in the exact center of our life. His covenant of faithful and affectionate love has saved us from our failures, both small and large, and from our sins. It will cause Him to be silent over us in His rest as He jubilantly sings and celebrates and leaps for and highly rejoices and dances over you with great joy and happiness because He is pleased with you (i.e., our choice to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior).
Can you imagine God singing and dancing around wildly over you as He shouts in rejoicing? Having the joy of God is hard to contain! Savior Jesus is our joyful Redeemer! We celebrate God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, as He utterly celebrates us
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).
The Author of joy, is breaking out into singing!
The God of history is dancing a jig over you!
The pleasure of heaven is expressed over you!
You ravish his heart, for He takes great “delight in you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride” (Isaiah 62:4-5 NIV).
The Father’s passionate rejoicing echoes throughout the heavenlies. Jesus paints a beautiful picture of unbridled joy:
“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7 NIV)
Repentance is the catalyst for experiencing both joy in heaven and freedom on earth.
THE DELIGHT OF GOD
God promises that He “will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul” (Jeremiah 32, 40-41 NIV).
God takes “delight in prospering you” (Deuteronomy 30:9). King David understood the love of the Father and exclaimed to the world that “no good thing does [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 NIV).
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6 ESV)
The Bible tells us that God works together with us in everything to produce good (See Romans 8:28). When we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart because they align with His (Psalm 37:4).
As His people, we should also sing and shout because of all that He has done for us! He has guaranteed that we need never be afraid because He is our eternal King and Redeemer. Living the Christian life means letting Jesus live His life through us. He has taken away our punishment, defeated our enemies, and come to dwell within us as His new Holy of Holies.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)
Beloved – please catch this: Jesus – your forgiver, the hope of glory, and the Creator of the universe – lives inside you. He spoke the Universe into existence, yet so many Christians struggle with their day-to-day existence.
Since the Creator of the universe lives inside every Born-Again Christian, no one should ever have a hard time dealing with problems and struggle as though God were a million miles away.
What you and I believe about Father God is the most important thing contained in our hearts, our minds and within our souls. It affects everything about us.
Being right with God is based on what God has done outside of you and outside of me. Jesus chose to dwell in us when we accepted Him. Isn’t that wonderful!
He came from everywhere we cannot go to live in you and me. We teach our little ones Jesus lives in their heart, so it shouldn’t be hard for an adult Believer to appropriate this truth as well. He has come to dwell and permanently live in you. You and I are now His dwelling place, we are the temple of His Holy Spirit.
God holds us next to His heart just as a loving mother holds their baby and quiets them with their love – and even sings to them!
This image shows God is not some distant, nebulous force somewhere out there in the immeasurable and unknowable universe, but a God who assures forgiven sinners that He loves, and is with them, so they have nothing to fear – ever!
The Triune God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a “singing” God (Zephaniah 3:17). God, the Son, Jesus, sang at the close of the Passover Feast and then went to the Garden to pray (Matthew 26:30). Jesus also sang after His triumphant resurrection from the dead (Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12).
God, the Holy Spirit, sings today through the hearts and lips of every Born-Again Christian who praises God in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21).
THE FULLNESS OF GOD
The Bible admonishes us to live our lives “overflowing with thanksgiving,” and in doing so, we will grow “strong and vigorous in the truth” (2 Corinthians 9:12 NIV).
He warns us to make sure that no one is led astray “with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world” rather than on Jesus (Colossians 2:8 NIV).
Within Jesus, all “the fullness of God lives in a human body” (Colossians 1:19 NIV). As a Born-Again Christian, we have been made complete in Him “who is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe” (Colossians 2:2-10 NLT).
This “completeness” is conditional to a certain degree in how we appropriate it. God has given us all of His fullness at the moment of salvation. However, it is up to us to stay constantly connected to Him in every condition and circumstance in which we might find ourselves so that we will experience His fullness daily.
The Lord God is in the midst of you. He will rejoice over you with great joy – even “as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride” (Isaiah 62:5 KJV); so, will the Lord “rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in His people” (Isaiah 65:19 NIV).
God will rest in His love for YOU, content with it as His supreme delight because YOU chose Jesus to be your Lord and Savior (Luke 15:7,10).
He will no longer hold YOU eternally accountable for your sins because of the sacrifice Jesus made (Psalm 32:2; Exodus 33:16; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:12).
When we train our focus on God’s endless love, power, and deliverance, we can experience hope in times of difficulty. Jesus is our King (Zephaniah 3:15), our Savior (v 3:16-17), and our Beloved (v 3:17)! We are eternally held tightly in the hands and heart of a singing and dancing and celebrating God!
What’s one of the greatest answers to our prayers?
The gift of God’s cleansing, justifying, sanctifying, saving, empowering, and indwelling Holy Spirit! If fathers know how to give good gifts, don’t you think the Father in heaven will give us and empower us with his Holy Spirit? So, let’s ask, expect, and receive, then sing and dance, celebrate, this incomparable gift.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Holy and gracious God, you are the greatest of all. You are full of wonders that no mere human can comprehend. Lord, I seek to understand you and your ways so that I can live according to your commandments. I now humbly pray for your divine illumination in my heart and mind. Help me see what you intend for me to see. Help me understand what you intend for me to understand. Open my eyes and my ears to see you and hear your whispers. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.