THE REFORMED WITNESS HOUR
"Delight Yourself in the Lord"
Rev. Carl Haak
(e-mail: Rev. Carl Haak)
February 12, 2006; No. 3293
Dear radio friends,
The Word of God brings to us as God’s children one basic biblical passion by which we are to live: Do all for the glory of God.
We read in I Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” What does that mean? Do all to the glory of God. What does that mean for you as a teenager? What does that mean for you as a housewife? Is that a cliché? Is that a meaningless phrase? What does it mean?
According to the Bible God’s glory is the outshining of His own virtues or the outshining of Himself. Just as the rays of the sun come forth from the sun, so coming forth from God is all of His glory: His holiness, justice, love, mercy, truth, righteousness. To live for the glory of God, then, means that the God who is God is seen in what you do and in what you say and in how you act, how you relate to people, and in your attitudes. To live to the glory of God means that God is seen, as the glorious God, in what I do and in how I live.
We read in Isaiah 43:10, “Ye are my witnesses … that I am [God].” Your life is to be a witness that I am God. That is what it means to live to the glory of God. In your dating as a young person, God is seen as pure and powerful and you are under the control of His love for you. In your words as a young person in the halls of school or locker-room with the guys, God is known as a holy God who loves His name and hates cursing. God is seen in you on Friday nights. Whether you are in school or out of school, wherever you are and in whatever you do, God is seen as a glorious God. You live before the world and you say, “Look at what I do. Look at my attitudes. See how I deal with others. God, in all of this, is seen as my God and seen in all the glory of who He is.” Do all to the glory of God.
The Bible says that this must be the single passion of the life of each one who is redeemed by God’s grace: Do all to the glory of God.
But now the Bible takes that up one step. Not only must we live to the glory of God, but God says in Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself in the Lord (that is, take pleasure in God, relish God, be happy in the Lord).” That is, a passion for God’s glory in my life is not simply, “Well, this is what is expected of me, this is what I am supposed to do, this is what I am supposed to say. So I am going to do this whether I like it or not. So, I’m supposed to be sexually pure, I’m supposed to be clean-mouthed, I’m supposed to defend the truth. And I will go about that in a robotic and a formal way.” No, that brings no glory to God. The one holy passion to which grace brings us is that we are to delight in God. That is, we are to rejoice in God Himself. Do you delight in God Himself? Is God Himself your pleasure, your joy, your satisfaction? Do you possess such a joy in God and in all that He is and all that He has done and does for you that you simply cannot hold it in — you delight in Him?
You say, “Aw, that’s too pious. That’s emotional. That’s unrealistic. That’s too much.” Well, listen to the Bible. “O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.” “In thee will we boast all the day long.” “Be glad in the Lord, ye righteous; and shout for joy ye upright in heart.” “Glory ye in his holy name.” We are to delight in God Himself.
To delight in God is to be joyful in our soul, in Him who has, by grace, saved us. “Delight thyself,” we read, “in the Lord.” There the word Lord is Jehovah, the I AM THAT I AM, revealing to us that He is the eternal, faithful, covenant God who has loved us and drawn us to Him in cords of love through Jesus Christ His Son. He is the great Jehovah, whose mercy endures forever, whose truth endures to all generation, who is excellent in power and in greatness. All who know Him delight in Him. All who know Him praise and joy in Him. The sinner does not think that God is desirable. Human nature does not suppose God to be lovely. Human nature believes that God is harsh and stuffy and an obstacle to fun. The Word of God says, “That’s blasphemy.” God in Himself is delightful. He is full of grace and truth. He is the ever-adorable God. Do not trifle with God. God is God and good. And we are to take pleasure in Him.
This is a command to our emotions. Delight yourself in the Lord. And we ask, Well, how can our emotions be commanded? You cannot command emotions, can you? Well, the Bible does all the time. Husbands, love your wives. Hope, ye dispirited and discouraged saints, hope in the Lord. Desire the sincere milk of the word. Weep with those who weep. God may command as He wills. This command, then, is addressed to the heart of one who has been renewed by God’s wonderful grace and made alive now in Jesus Christ to do this. God’s grace infuses new qualities into our will, so that God may say, “I have made you alive; I have given you a new heart; I command that heart, and that heart is to delight in Me.”
God commands us to delight in Him. Why must God and His glory be the central passion of our heart and lives? The answer is, first of all, because God’s glory is central to God, because God delights in Himself. God is zealous for His own glory. Isaiah 48:11, “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.” God’s passion is for Himself. God is the most God-centered being in the universe. God is no idolater. He does not bow down to another. He does not seek satisfaction outside of Himself. God is uppermost in His affections. He puts nothing before Himself. Number one to God is Himself! His own glory. This is right and this is good.
God takes pleasure in His own holy name. And for that reason He calls all His redeemed through Jesus Christ to glory in Him, to delight in Him. Find your satisfaction in Me. Open wide thy mouth, He says, and I will fill it with Myself. I am the God whose compassions know no end, whose mercies are new each morning. God is so good, so delightful. Delight yourself in Him!
God is most glorified in us when we delight in Him. When we are satisfied in Him, He is glorified in us.
Do you remember Paul’s words about death in Philippians 1:20 and 21? There he prays that Christ be magnified in his body, whether it be by life or by death. And he goes on to say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul was saying, “I count my Savior more satisfying to me than anything that I would lose in death.” Death and all the difficulties accompanying death did not paralyze Paul. They did not defeat him, because God was to Paul his chief delight.
Knowing God in faith and delighting in God are not two separate things. They are one thing. To know God in faith is to delight in God. To know God by faith is not a cold, sterile thing. No, true faith (the knowledge of God) is to rejoice in that knowledge of God. God does not get glory from those who do not delight in Him. Now, I know, the Bible says that God is glorified also in the destruction of the reprobate wicked. We read in Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” They, too, must glorify God’s justice in their just damnation.
But what I mean is this. We do not glorify God by merely having head correctness and outward orthodoxy and outward conformity. But God is glorified in us when those things exist and are the fruit of a joy in Him. God is to be savored. God is to be enjoyed. God is to be rejoiced in. What we need in the church is a generation of young people who, with mind and heart, display a mighty love for God. As young people, your generation is inheriting the truth. As Moses spoke, so I may speak (Deut. 28:58): “that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD.” That was intended to be shocking, to be sobering. That you might know, reverence, Him!
But God is not glorified in mere outward accuracy, in mere outward knowledge. God is glorified when we delight in Him from the heart, according to that true knowledge of Him in His Word.
Delighting in God
is very important. It is the power to
reject sinful delights. The world is
full of sinful pleasure. We read in
Hebrews 11 that Moses was tempted also by the pleasures of sin that he could
But sinful pleasures cannot satisfy. Sinful pleasures, the Word of God says, are a snare. They draw you back with all of their promises. But then you cannot get loose. And you find that all of their promises come up empty. You end up with vanity and destruction in your heart. And then you say concerning those pleasures, “I can’t stop. And I feel worthless about myself.”
Now, listen! Delight thyself in God. That is the liberation! We read of Joseph, that when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife to commit adultery with her, he said, “How can I do this and sin against my God?” He was saying, “Woman, the embrace of my God in prayer is more than yours can ever be to me!” Delight yourself in God and you will not be disappointed.
Delight in God brings satisfaction. The church father Augustine put it this way: “We are made for God and unquieted is our soul until it rests in God.” Delight in Him. Do not watch television all night instead of reading the Scriptures. Here is peace, here is contentment, here is joy. Delight yourself in God. Know God. Know Him in all of His glory — the ever adorable One.
We read in Jeremiah 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” That is evil! “My people have committed two evils.” It is evil when you are given a fountain of living water, pure and cool that can satisfy a weary, parched soul, and then you sniff at it and instead you go outside and dig a hole in the ground and put your lips to the ground and you suck trying to get something. That is evil! Go to the fountain and drink and drink and drink. Find satisfaction, not from the dry ground of drugs and drunkenness and possessions and materialism and beauty and wealth and all the rest. You are not going to find it there. That is evil. But find satisfaction in God. Delight yourself in God. This is the distinctive, Reformed life that stands out in this world. This is what excites us.
We read in I Peter 3:15, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man” of the hope that is within you. Does the world ask, “What is there about you? There’s something I can’t figure out about you. You seem to have a rock underneath you. You seem to have an inward peace, a joy, not dependent upon circumstances.” Do they ask you those questions? Or do they not ask, because you and I are delighting in the same things that they do; our hearts run no deeper than theirs; and we delight ourselves in football and TV programs? Do you delight yourself in God?
We have to answer this question!
He who calls
Himself the “praises of
Delight thyself in God and He shall give you the desires of thy heart. That is how that verse concludes in Psalm 37.
If you delight in the vanities of this world, they will give you nothing. They will instead take from you. But when you delight in God, you will receive something. And you will keep on receiving. To delight yourself in God and receive the desires of your heart does not, of course, mean that you are given carte blanche on your carnal desires as is so popular today in the heresy of the health/wealth/and success gospel. That is a heresy, contrary to God’s Word. God does not say, “Well, if you believe in me enough, then whatever you fancy I will give to you.” God is not saying, “I’ll guarantee you a material reward, I will gratify everything your little heart could wish.” We know that that is not true. We read in I Timothy 6 that many suppose that gain is godliness. From such withdraw thyself.
Although we know that is not true, there are so many Christians who are getting sucked into that heresy today. No, the opposite is the meaning. That the Lord will give you the desires of your heart may indeed mean that in the way of delighting in God you might lose all earthly things. You must remember that the sinful world is intolerant of joy. You heard me right. The sinful world is intolerant of joy. The devil is intolerant of true joy. The world does not want any true joy. True joy is to delight in God. And the devil does not want happiness. He is not out for happiness. Sin is not happiness. Sin is misery! And if you delight yourself in the Lord, and if you say, “I live looking for one who is the author of my salvation in whom I rejoice,” then the world is going to say, “We are going to make you miserable.”
What does it mean that the Lord will give thee the desires of thine heart? It means at least three things.
One. It certainly means that God will do this in His time and according to His will. The desires of our heart, as to what I am to do and who I am to marry, and all the other desires that we may have — we may want a child and all the other things — God says that if you “delight in Me and obey Me and submit to My will, then in My time and in My will I will bring all things to you that I have willed.”
But more. It means that He will grant to us our inward spiritual desires. Do you have desires in your heart? Not casual wishes. But do you have true, spiritual desires? Do you desire the Lord to strengthen you against temptations? Do you desire the Lord to give you more holiness? Do you desire the Lord to give you a control of your tongue? Are these the desires of your heart? Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
But, still more. It means this, that God will give Himself. And that is the best explanation. Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart. When you desire Him and you delight in Him and you want to be closer to Him and you want to know Him more, then the Lord will give you the desires of your heart.
To delight in God brings the blessing of being filled with God, who is the chief desire of our heart.
Do you delight in Him? Once again, God is not served by mere outward correctness. We read in Acts 17:25, “Neither is he worshiped (that is, served) with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” God is not served by mere external duty. God is glorified by those who, by His grace, treasure Him. Do you treasure Him today? Oh, the great and the glorious God, faithful, compassionate, the Father of wisdom, the holy, the just, the eternal, the faithful God. Oh, how glorious is God. Is not God marvelous? Oh, how wonderful and how great.
Delight in Him! That is what He saved you to do.
Let us pray.
Father, we thank Thee for Thy Word. We pray that Thou wilt bless Thy Word unto our heart this day. In Jesus’ name do we pray, Amen.