My colleague Tim has a tattoo of an obscure but powerful passage in the Bible. “[The Lord] 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). Isn’t that incredible? God does not just put up with you or love you because he is obligated to. Just the opposite. He delights in you. Even better, he takes “great delight” in you. Everyone who trusts in Jesus makes God so happy that he busts out in song, rejoicing over us with singing. Like a head-over-heels teenager falling in love, God can’t help but smile when he pulls out a picture of his church.
But I never knew how Tim’s passage began until recently. Before the delight/rejoicing part, Zephaniah 3:17 begins, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” How can God delight in you? Because he is the Mighty Warrior who died to deliver you. How can God sing when he sees you? Because he first suffered to save you. The image of Jesus as a happy husband only comes after seeing him as the wounded warrior.
The balance of that imagery is powerful. The tough picture of a soldier at war. The tender picture of a devoted husband. Everything our hearts want and need is found in Jesus.