I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. (Jeremiah 32:40-41, ESV)
This week’s reflection is based on one of the gold nuggets that I found during one of my recent morning devotions. It was a refreshing reminder that while we often praise God for His goodness because being good is part of His character, we sometimes miss the point that He also delights in doing good to us! From the beginning of time, Genesis 1 tells us that when He created the world and the universe, and every living plant and creature, He was pleased when He saw they were good. And when He finally created Man in His own image, His creation work was complete and He looked and He was delighted that everything was very good! There was harmony – between God, Man and creation, there was Shalom, and within that relationship God was glorified.
Man, and all of creation, were thus created out of God’s pleasure, out of His goodness, and for us to share in that goodness. But what is even more amazing and mindboggling is that Ephesians 1 tells us that even before creation, God had already had us on His mind. In verses 5-6 it says that, “In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved”.
Indeed, we were created to praise God, to glorify Him. This is, of course, not because He is some cosmic narcissistic supreme being that was lonely and so in need of attention that He had to create minions to sing His praises and serve Him. John Piper, in his book, Desiring God, puts it this way: “God’s pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure in Him are one and the same pursuit. God’s quest to be glorified and our quest to be satisfied reach their goal in this one experience: our delight in God, which overflows in praise.” In other words, our praises should be an outflow of our joy and delight to be in His presence, in His Shalom relationship, as it was in the beginning.
Our greatest satisfaction in life thus comes from delighting in Him, finding our joy in Him. In Psalm 37:4 it says: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” If our heart’s desire is to delight in Him, He will take pleasure in granting that desire, because whatever makes us happiest is what God delights in with all His heart and soul. Piper very elegantly says, “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.”
So how do we seek to delight in God? I think we must begin with the understanding that only in Christ can our relationship with God be restored. So only by His grace, through faith, can we come back to a right relationship with God, and once we have been restored, the rest of our lives in Him should be one which we seek to honour Him in all that we do and say through our obedience, having a single-minded devotion to Him, enjoying His love and provision, and living our lives in gratitude to Him. Then God will delight in pouring out His goodness on us beyond what we can measure or even imagine.
May our lifelong pursuit be to delight in the Lord so that we can truly overflow with heartfelt worship and unceasing prayer to the praise of His glorious grace.