FINDING PLEASURE IN GOD | the marrow of life
Normally when we think of our Lord’s commands, we think of the 10 commandments . . . You shall not steal . . . Honor your father and your mother. Or we think of commands like . . . Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength . . . Love your neighbor as yourself. But there is a command, repeated in the Scriptures, which we don’t normally think of when we think of God’s commands. By way of command God says, “Delight yourself in the LORD” (Psa 37:4) . . . “Be glad in the LORD” (Psa 32:11) . . . “Rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 3:1; 4:6). These verbs are all imperatives.
We don’t normally think of it this way, but God commands us to find pleasure in Him. It is a call from the infinite God for us to satisfy our hearts with the glories that belong to only Him. It is to realize that God is limitless, that He is all in all. And in that realization we discover a pleasure of the soul that cannot be put into words. Peter says that Christians rejoice with “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet 1:8).
God commands us to do this. Why does God command us to find pleasure in Him? First, when we delight in God as our all in all, He is most honored. When we say to God, “Your faithful love is better than life” (Psa 63:3) then God is honored with the highest praise. When a martyr gives up his life and is burned at the stake, he is saying that God is more precious than his very life . . . that God is all in all. To be so satisfied with God alone is a great glory to Him. And He is worthy of such praise. In Rev 5:12, John piles up words to make this very point. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” Then in the next verse he says, “To Him who sits on the throne be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” Our infinite God is worthy of all praise, so to find pleasure in Him honors Him most.
The second reason why God commands us to delight in Him is because He loves us and He knows that if we delight in Him, our souls will be satisfied. He knows that if we eat the bread of His glory and drink at the fountain of His majesty, we will be filled. “Taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psa 34:8) . . . “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters . . . Why do you spend money for what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? . . . eat what is good and delight yourself in abundance” (Isa 55:1-3). Whatever the human soul longs for, God can satisfy . . . and He will satisfy those hearts which make Him the joy. It is the best of all possible worlds. God gets the glory and we are fully satisfied.
How do we obey the command to delight in the Lord? One way is to cry out to God, asking Him to fill our hearts with Himself. Moses cried out to the Lord to “satisfy us in the morning with your faithful love” (Psa 90:11). Let us plead with God . . . “Show me more, Father! Satisfy my longings with Yourself.”
Another way we obey God’s command to rejoice in Him is to fill our hearts with the words of God. If we are ever going to obey Him we must learn, like Jeremiah, to say, “Your words were found and I ate them, and your words were to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jer 15:16). As we cry out to God and fill our hearts with His truth, then we have communion with God and our souls become full and overflowing with joy.
A third way we can obey God's command to find pleasure in Him is to talk with each other about the wonders and mysteries and glories of God. Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom . . ." We rob our souls of joy in God if we do not talk with each other about Him … the comforting mystery of His providence, the humbling wonder of His mercy, the strengthening marvel of His power, the hope-producing wisdom of His designs, the tenderness of His love, the terror of His wrath.
Since it is true that God is the greatest satisfaction possible for the human soul and if He commands us to delight in Him, why don’t we do it? Like Adam choosing the fruit instead of God, we satisfy ourselves with lesser pleasures and replace God with them . . . food, drink, ambition, music. Satan’s great lie is that sin is more pleasurable than holiness. It is not true. We are often like children, content to play in the dirt and mud because they have no idea of the pleasures of a vacation at the sea or in the mountains.
Instead of having God, we replace Him. Infinite joys from the bread of heaven are offered to us, while we often feed on the crumbs of earthly glory. Beloved, our God is the bread of peace . . . eat, that you might be strong. He is the inexhaustible fountain of pure joy . . . drink and you will never thirst again. No wonder David looked to the God of glory and declared, “In Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psa 16:11).
Drinking, with you, at His fountain,