Tuesday, June 13, 2006

#50 "What Makes God Smile?"

June 13, 2006
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act (reasonable act) of worship." (Romans 12:1)

As a parent of four children, in the course of 24 years I have had many occasions to smile. I've had many proud moments watching my kids accomplish something, perform, make right choices and I have been able to say, "Hey, that's my kid!" As my heart swells with pride, my lips smile and I delight in them.

I have a Father in Heaven who delights in me. He delights in you too. The Bible says so. But what specifically delights Him? What makes the Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, Maker of all the stars (He knows each of them by name by the way)...what do I do that makes Him smile? What makes Him delight in ME? Positionally, I know that I am pleasing in His sight only because of Jesus' shed blood for me on Calvary. When my Heavenly Father looks at me, He sees Jesus. He is pleased and delighted that I believe in His only begotten Son. But on a day to day basis, what makes Him smile? What makes Him peer over the clouds of Heaven and causes Him to say, "That's my kid?" Let's take a look in the Word for the answer.

Psalm 147: 11 says that "the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love." To "fear the Lord" is to be in awe of Him, to have a reverent respect for Him. Proverbs 8:13 says that "to fear the Lord is to hate evil." Fear of the Lord acknowledges how great and awesome He is and governs our actions accordingly. Hoping in His "unfailing love". This is His "hesed" (Hebrew) love...a loyal, covenantal love. A love that never fails. A love that cares for us, protects us, provides for us, never leaves us or forsakes us kind of love. If you fear the Lord and count on His unfailing love for you...He is smiling.

God delights in our obedience. 1 Samuel 15:22 says, "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?" We may give our money. We may serve in a ministry at church. But are we obedient in the everyday choices and decisions of our lives? Is what God says in His word the basis for every move we make? Everything we say? How we love others? How we treat people? How we give of our time, talents and resources? If we are obedient to His word, not just hearers but doers, God pokes one of the angels and says, "Look that's my kid!" God is smiling.

The book of Proverbs tells us that God delights in honesty and integrity (11:1), in our ways being blameless (11:20), in our being truthful (12: 22) and in prayers backed up by upright behavior and pure thoughts (15: 8, 26). Keeping the Sabbath holy (Isaiah 58: 13-14) delights Him. Jeremiah 9: 24 says that the Lord delights in kindness, justice and righteousness. Not taking delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, the Lord would rather see you with a broken and contrite (repentant) heart, sorry for your sins, crushed and humble before Him (Psalm 51: 16-17). And then, according to Micah, Chapter 7 and verse 18, the Lord will delight to show you His mercy.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary "delight" means to take great pleasure in, to give enjoyment to, to give joy or satisfaction. The Hebrew word for "delight" means that God accepts you, He is pleased with you and is favorable to you. In my words, "You make Him smile."

Besides just wanting to please Him because He is our God, Savior, Redeemer, All in All, if God delights in you He will do some things for you. Just as a parent rewards his child, our wonderful Father will reward us. He will make you prosperous (Deuteronomy 30:9). Not just monetarily, but health, wholeness, harmony...nothing missing and nothing broken in your life. Numbers 14:8 says that "if the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us." David says that God rescued him "because He delighted" in him. (2 Samuel 22:20 and Psalm 18:19) Do you need a rescue today? Solomon was placed on Israel's throne because the Lord delighted in him (see 1 Kings 10:9 and 2 Chronicles 9:8). He will promote you. Psalm 22:8 says that God will deliver those He delights in. What kind of deliverance are you looking for? Do you need to be delivered from disease, poverty, pride, addiction, an impossible situation that only the Holy One of Israel can deliver you from? A situation where you are saying, "Lord, if you don't step in, it's not going to happen!"

"If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand." (Psalm 37: 23-24) Making your steps firm and your paths straight is more than just God's guidance. You will have fewer problems; He will remove obstacles from your way, give you a smooth path and bring you to your appointed goal. You will have great peace that passes all understanding because He will quiet you with His love if He delights in you (Zephaniah 3:17c). You may still have some unpleasant situations in your life but you will be able to go through them peacefully and with inner joy instead of letting them derail you and destroy you. Peace and joy will govern your life...you will not be a victim to your circumstances.

This living to make God smile sounds like a pretty tall order. But I believe that God never tells us to do anything that is impossible or that we can't accomplish. That would be unfair and God is not unfair. To live in a way that makes God delight in us takes commitment, courage and the strength that only He can give. But it is possible. We must consciously live each moment of our day for Him. Putting Him first in all we think, do and say. Learning what He asks of us by being in the Word and then leaning and depending on Him to help us do it. And when we fail, which we will, being quick to go to Him in repentance. He will brush us off and send us back on our way again, just like the loving Father that He is. Still loving us, still being proud of us, still making Him smile.

Zephaniah 3:17d says that when God takes great delight in you "he will rejoice over you with singing." Is He singing over you today? Is He smiling? Is He calling all of the angels to the edge of the clouds, leaning over with a huge smile on His face, pointing you out and telling them, "Hey everybody, that's my kid!"

Donna Schultz

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