As a father, there is no doubt that I love my children. There really is nothing they could do to make me love them more, or anything they could do to make me love them less. However; there are things they do that bring me greater degrees of delight. In other words, I delight in my children when they do what is pleasing in my eyes.
When it comes to our relationship with God as a Father, there is nothing we can do to make Him love us more or less. Scripture tells us that He so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, and that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but rather have eternal life. (John 3:16) God did so while we were still alienated from Him due to our sin. And while God loves all of us unconditionally, some people are not alive to God’s delight. You see, you are either alive to God’s delight ... or dead to it. So it raises the question, “Who is it that God delights in?” The answer to this question is found in the scriptures:
The Lord takes delight in His people.
He crowns the humble with victory.
…but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
God delights in those who delight themselves in God. In other words, He delights in those who make Him their delight. When God is our delight, we give Him first place in our lives. We surrender our lives to Him and live our lives for His delight.
When the Jews were at risk for annihilation in the book of Esther, God providentially stepped in and turned what was meant for evil into good for His people in whom He delighted. Chapter 6 of Esther tells of Haman, a man filled with selfish pride who did not delight in God, but rather in himself. His plan was to annihilate the Jews and to kill Esther’s cousin Mordecai (a man who delighted in God) by hanging him. On the night he had the gallows built on which he would hang Mordecai, God did not allow the King to sleep. The king asked for the chronicles of the king to be read to him. On that night, by God’s design, the record that was read from the book was how Mordecai had saved the king’s life year’s earlier. The king asked what had been done to honor Mordecai for his saving the king, and his servants said, “Nothing has been done for him.” After that, Haman entered the king’s court to ask permission to hang Mordecai. But the king was the first to speak. He asked Haman, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” Haman believed the king wanted to honor him, so he said that the man should be led through town by a noble official. The man to be honored should ride on the king’s horse, wear the king’s robe, and a crown. The king said, “Go and do so for Mordecai and leave nothing out you have mentioned.” God flipped the script on Haman and honored Mordecai, one in whom God delighted.
When God delights in you, He rejoices over you. (Isaiah 62:5) Just as a groom rejoices over his bride, scripture says God rejoices over you. He is crazy about you. It has been said that if He had a refrigerator, your picture would be all over it. Not only does God rejoice over you when He delights in you, He remembers you. To remember you does not mean that God has forgotten you. It means that you are on His mind. He is mindful of you. This seems especially helpful when you are going through a hard time. “He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
When God delights in you, He calms your fears with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17b) Satan would love nothing more than to fill us with fear. But when God delights in you, you can count on His perfect love to cast out all fear.
When God delights in you, He lifts you up in due time. Just like He lifted Mordecai up into a place of honor, God will also lift you up when you cling to Him. You may feel confined by your difficulty, closed in by your circumstances, but in due time God will bring you out of those places into what David called a “broad place” (Psalm 18:19), because He delights in you. To bring you into a broad place is to free you from your struggle.
Lastly, when you are God’s delight, He will not allow your enemies to triumph over you, but rather to have them fall before you. Satan has no authority over you when you are God’s delight. You have power to overcome all evil because Jesus lives in you and He delights Himself in you.
May you be encouraged to live in His delight today. God delights in those who delight themselves in Him!