In my reading through the Scriptures, I have been paying attention to those passages having to do with things in which God takes pleasure; in which he delights. This is not so I can accumulate interesting little bits of bible knowledge for future use, but so I can presently better understand my Heavenly Father and show my love for him. Perhaps you can add to this list:
Psalm 104:31- He delights in his works; his works of creation, which reveal his glory. So, as I praise him for a beautiful morning or stand awed by a gorgeous sunset, I am glorying in the very things that give him pleasure.
Psalm 149:4- He takes delight in his people, especially those who are afflicted. “… he will beautify the afflicted with salvation.” What an amazing thought, that my Father delights in me even when I feel lost in my suffering! In fact, he takes pleasure in me especially when I face the unloveliness of affliction. (I’m going to write a separate blog on this.)
Psalm 147:11- God delights in those who reverence him and trust him and put their hope in his unfailing love. God does not delight in strength (v.10) but he delights in us when we acknowledge our weakness and our need of him. What an encouragement to come into his presence in those times when I am overwhelmed by all those things that I cannot control.
Proverbs 11:1- He takes delight in honesty and dealing fairly with others. Hmmm… what a novel thought in our world, where the end justifies the means in personal, national, and international affairs.
Proverbs 11:20- “… he delights in those whose ways are blameless.” Blameless does not mean perfect, but it describes a person who strives to keep the way of God’s Law as the standard for right living. Job wasn’t perfect, but he strived to live uprightly and with integrity. King David wasn’t perfect, but in Psalm 25 where he acknowledges he is a sinner, he also prays that his integrity and uprightness will protect him against the criticism of his enemies. My Father takes delight in my attempts to walk in obedience to him, just like I rejoiced in the first steps of my children before they fell down again.
Proverbs 12:22- God hates lies but delights in those who tell the truth. But the implication here is that God delights in those who are “trustworthy” (ESV). People whose lives and dealings, as well as speech, are characterized by truth-telling. Are you being a little shady in that business deal? Are you telling the whole truth to the bank when they ask about how you are going to use that equity loan? Do you have a financially addictive hobby that you are not telling your spouse about? At those times, just think how much your Father takes pleasure in you when you simply tell the truth and do the right thing!
Jeremiah 9:24- God delights in loving-kindness, justice, and righteousness. Rejoice when you see these things evidenced in this world and in your life because you know your Father is very pleased.
Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Isa 42:1- God delights in his Son, Jesus. It is little wonder then that God will use the difficult circumstances in our lives as a whittling tool to cut away things in us that do not resemble Jesus. Romans 8:28 indicates that “all things work together for good for those who love God,” and 8:29 defines “the good” as being “conformed to the image of his Son.” God delights when I think and act like Jesus, so he is in the process of reconfiguring me to make that happen. It’s a painful process and I have a long way to go, but one day, when Christ returns, it will be completed. “But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).