Building sand castles
Playing in the surf
Being refreshed by the cooling breeze
At the power of God displayed in creation
At the sky as it changes throughout the day
At the power of the surf – even when it seems so calm
At the various seaside creatures and their quirky behaviors
Rejoicing in families having so much fun together
Delight - Joy - Pleasure
There are so many things that bring joy or pleasure. And what impacts you in that way may be very different from mine, but I believe there are many things and people who bring you great joy.
I find myself dreading the part of aging that seems to make it more and more difficult to take delight in even the greatest of things that would have previously been at the top of my list.
Did you know that our ability to delight reflects God’s image in us?
A God of Emotion
Today’s point of worship is an emotive word that reminds us of God’s feelings about His people and calls us to feel the same about Him.
I don’t recall being taught that God has emotions when I was younger. But I find it comforting to know that feelings are part of His nature and, therefore, that part of us comes from being made in His likeness.
God Delights In Integrity
As I studied this part of God’s personality, I realized that Scripture teaches that some of God’s delight is closely tied to another “D” emotion that isn’t necessarily heart-warming. Rather than avoid this trait of God’s character, let’s quickly look at some things that he detests compared to the things He takes rejoices in.
What did you notice about this list? It seems all these actions He detests come from a heart lacking God’s perspective.
God delights in character that mirrors His. As with any attribute of God, we can’t even really imagine that level of uprightness. But it is clear He is thrilled when we honor Him in our dealings with others.
God gives more detail about the mindsets and actions that delight Him in His message to Israel through Jeremiah.
but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:24
In Hosea, we find a similar message. Note that the word translated desire by the ESV is the same word translated delight in our other passages. What God delights in – what He greatly desires – is that we know Him and that this intimacy with Him results in faithful love.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 ESV
When we realize that our sacrifice for sin has been completely covered by Christ, how can we respond any differently?
God Delights In His People
As I grow in my faith, which results from knowing God better –intellectually, experientially, and spiritually – I find that I delight more in who He is. The traits that we are unpacking are a small sample of God’s character that we have found language to describe yet I pray they will help you move to a more intimate knowledge of our loving Father.
Our first set of scriptures described not only what God detests but what brings Him delight. These passages spoke about attitudes and actions rather than the person holding them or doing them.
Yet the Bible is also clear that God rejoices in His people.
On this side of the cross, God’s people are not exclusively of Jewish heritage as Paul teaches in Romans.
But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. Romans 2:29
The Old Testament primarily concentrates on The Hebrews as the children of God, His firstborn. Yet God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed because of Him. And in the Old Testament, we see descriptions of those who God considers His people.
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalms 147:11
God delights in those who fear (revere Him as the one true God), those whose hearts are circumcised, and who find their hope in His unfailing love. Those are His people!
God Delights With Singing and Provision
Look at this favorite passage that speaks of God’s love for Israel even after years of rebellion. As He prepares them for restoration, he expresses how He will delight by rejoicing and exulting over them. Can you even begin to imagine what it would sound like for God to be singing over us?
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
As we walk through our life’s journey, we inevitably notice that many people experience some of the same blessings we do, whether they hope in God’s faithfulness or not. This is called Common Grace.
For instance, the experience described in my poem about the beach is not unique to me or to the people of God exclusively. It is available to anyone with the resources and desire to encounter it. The beauty of God’s creation, the ability to work to make a living, and the birth of healthy children are some other examples of gifts of grace common to believers and unbelievers alike.
This leads to the question, “How does God express His delight in those who trust in Him?” I love what Chris Bruno, a professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary, writes on desiringGod.org.
Remember that the presence of the Lord is found among his people particularly through the Spirit who dwells among us. Therefore, the fulfillment of Zephaniah 3:17 today is in the Holy Spirit’s presence among his people.
What a marvelous reminder of God’s delight in us. He dwells in us through His Spirit!
I agree with John Piper who summarized God’s delight in His people in this way, based on Jeremiah 32:41
(Click here to read the full devotion).
With all his heart and with all his soul, God joins us in the pursuit of our everlasting joy because the consummation of that joy in him redounds to the glory of his own infinite worth.
In the days when it is difficult to find circumstances that bring joy, we can look forward to a time when we will delight with God as His rejoicing in those who persevere is consummated by planting us in the land of the New Jerusalem when God finally makes all things new.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true...The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:5, 7
Father, we worship you because you delight in a pure and holy emotion that values the people who have trusted in you for salvation. Thank you that your delight will never wane.
Lord, help us to delight in you – who you are. Help us to cherish deeply the salvation that was so costly and completely satisfied the debt of our sin.
Help us to rejoice in being in your presence through the Holy Spirit so that we not only desire more of you each day but look forward with delight to the day we will join you in the place you have so richly prepared for us.