Books about the love of God are not uncommon these days. But with The Singing God, author Sam Storms offers a unique perspective on the affection of the Almighty towards his people.
The title of the book is taken from Zephaniah 3:16-17:1621362647
On that day they will say to Jerusalem, "Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp. 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."
While much written about the love of God today can veer towards the fanciful and maudlin, Storms grounds this work solidly on scripture. Best of all, this biblical perspective actually provides an emotional impact and encouragement for the soul that treacly alternatives can't provide.
One of the most memorable passages from the The Singing God involves Storms' attempt to counsel a dispirited woman named Susan. After seeming to fail in providing solace, the author posed the question, "How does God feel when He looks at you?" She believes that God would feel pity or disgust in surveying her life. But when he reads the passage in Zephaniah, she replies tearfully, "If only I could believe it were true. I thing then I could face almost anything. If only it were true."
Many may have difficulty believing that God's love for us would be so deep and intense that he would break into song. So Storms spends the balance of his book proving from the Bible that the Lord's affection is very real. From there, the author goes on to suggest how understanding this ardor from God will produce love and worship in us along with a corresponding love for others.
I believe that The Singing God is a valuable addition to any Christian's library, particularly those who struggle with feeling unloved by God and others. It's well written, biblically based and loaded with practical encouragement.
Sam wants you to know that God is full with abounding passion, who delights in His people, even broken people like you and me.
He bases this on Zephaniah 3:17. His paraphrase of that verse ends, "He celebrates who you are with joyful singing." (11) God not only loves you, He delights in you. "What makes life livable is enjoying the joy that comes from knowing one is enjoyed by God." (3)
Sam investigates singing and the power in it. "...[S]inging enables the soul to express deeply felt emotions that mere speaking cannot." (23)
He explores how much God loves you by looking at the cross, adoption, and forgiveness. However, "God simply will not let His children sin with impunity." (61) God grieves when you sin yet His love does not falter.
He goes on to write about suffering - because you are loved by God. Be assured, though, that His love will sustain you. He gives encouragement so that you will know "with unshakable assurance that His love will preserve you safe and saved forever and ever." (120)
Sam is convinced that God wants you to feel His love and he spends the last part of his book on helping you understand (and feel) it. He give suggestions of what to do when you don't feel loved by God.
You might ask if God's love is unconditional. Yes and no, Sam writes. God's love does not depend on our own loveliness but, "God is ruthlessly determined to rid us of our sin." (80) Later, Sam talks about us being the bride of Christ, infidelity, and quotes Tim Stafford: "The fury of God toward his bride is dreadful. _ He will never be content with a bad marriage; he will rage against it until it is changed." (193)
I think there is a mixed message in this book. God delights in you, Sam writes. Yet God rages when you are unfaithful to Him...which is probably every day, in some way. The subtitle of this book is "Feel the passion God has for you...just the way you are." Passion, yes. But it seems that the passion is not always delight.
I am leery of taking a verse out of the Old Testament and building a theology on it. I so wanted to be assured that God delighted in me "just the way I am." But the last part of Sam's book indicates that is not always the case.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.