Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Happiest Commandment

God is committed to his own glory and our enjoyment of him.  Therefore, to our great benefit, God commands us to delight in him!  We are commanded to enjoy God; to find in him alone our great satisfaction and eternal pleasure.  Jesus called this the greatest commandment ("You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," Matthew 22:37-38). This is the sum of everything God requires of us towards him: to love him; to find our utmost pleasure in him.   Jesus called loving God the greatest commandment. I believe it's also the happiest!

In commanding us to delight in God, God receives ultimate glory from us as our Chief Treasure and Joy. And we receive indescribable pleasures forever as we drink from the river of his delights (Psalm 36:8).  This is the most amazing win-win in all the universe; the ultimate 'good deal' in all of reality!

Whatever gets in the way of our delighting in God is, then, idolatry and sin. In salvation God graciously removes our delight in other things and becomes himself our joy!  (This is a test for genuine conversion... do you honestly delight in God?) The early church father Augustine gave a powerful testimony of this in his own life, when he wrote:
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose!  ...You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure...  Augustine, Confessions, p. 181 (IX, 1).
1. Delighting in God Described.
"In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).
"The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights (Psalm 36:7-8).
"For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and lift up your face to God" (Job 22:26).

2. Delighting in God Commanded.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). This verse is usually appreciated as a promise, but notice the simple command for us to delight ourselves in him!  We've already looked at the great command, to love God, which sums up our delighting in him.

3. Delighting in God in fearing his name.
"O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name" (Nehemiah 1:11).

4. Delighting in God in his Word.
"...but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2).
"Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16).
"For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being" (Romans 7:22).

5. Delighting in God in his Ways.
"The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way" (Psalm 37:23).

6. Delighting in God in his Will.
"I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).

7. Delighting in God in Obedience.
“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; [14 ] then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13-14

Although the Sabbath command is different for the Christian in the New Covenant than it was for the people of God under the Old Covenant (finding its fulfillment in Christ), the point is that when we delight in obeying God, "THEN" we will actually "take delight in the LORD."  If we are not obeying God, we are not delighting in him...and vice versa.

O, Praise God for commanding our happiness in him forever!!  Praise him for then enabling and securing this eternal delight for his people in Christ!!  What a deal!  What a salvation!  What a God!
What is hindering your delighting in God? 
What has replaced God as the center of your delight?
What would God have you do about this?

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