Meditating on the Gems of the Bible: 1. Delighting in God
Psa 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I have to make a confession as I start this particular series of meditations: I am doing them for particularly selfish reasons. The primary reason is that I feel I need to do a series that will feed my spirit as I do them. Now that may surprise you because you may expect that every meditation should do that, but the truth is that certain areas of the Scriptures do that more than others. I have recently been working (and that’s a telling word!) on a series about the judgments of God and as good as that has been, focussing on negatives all the time can get a bit heavy after a while, and so I find I have come to a point where I feel I need something lighter, something to feed by spirit in a different way. Associated with that reason I am aware that I need to be reading, thinking and writing about things that lift my spirit in worship. Bible study or meditation that leaves us simply academically appreciating the word, falls short. The word should leave us worshipping.
I should also explain that I have no plan in mind, no list of Scriptures that I know will bless me when I think more deeply on them. I am simply asking the Lord to put before me verses that will do that. I want the truth to set me free afresh, to release my spirit afresh in worship of the One who is my Lord and Saviour. I want more out of my daily reflections than mere intellectual enjoyment; I want my spirit to soar and sing with God. I have called this ‘Meditating on Gems of the Bible’ because Gems or gemstones stand out and catch our attention and they bear examining, looking at, pouring over and wondering at. That is what I hope these studies will do.
So why this verse to start with? Simply because I prayed and it was the one that came to mind. It’s one I know from the past and it just came with no more intellectual reasoning; it just came. But then as I have starting writing already, I realise that I have already been writing about this verse about ‘delighting’ in the Lord.
What does delighting mean? To delight in something surely means to take pleasure in, get joy from, and isn’t this exactly what this is all about. I hadn’t got around to putting it in those terms but that was what I was saying. I want to turn to the Lord, reflect or meditate on Him and get pleasure from Him and receive joy from Him? Why? Because He does that! Taking in what the Bible says about him does that. Doesn’t that sound a little self absorbing? Well only in as far as you know the Lord does various things that are good to receive and I’m saying, “More please, Lord.” Is it wrong to ask for more love, joy, peace, patience etc. (the fruit of the Spirit – Gal 5:22,23)? Surely not. But perhaps our motivation for asking might be queried. Well in that they are things the Holy Spirit wants to bring in us, surely that is sufficient reason. To want love, joy, peace etc. without God would be a godless and self-centred desire certainly but if we are pointing towards the Bible and taking that as our resource, surely that is unlikely. He is the source of all those things.
In fact the more I think about Him, the more I turn to Him to seek a sense of His presence, the more I realise how wonderful He is. Yesterday we had two parts of our three parts family (one part – son, his wife and two of our grandchildren live abroad) round for a celebration tea, celebrating an impending birthday. One part of the family turned up – daughter, son-in-law and two children and we had a delightful time with them for about an hour before the others arrived (they had been delayed by legitimate circumstances – son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren). Then we all had a couple of hours together before the first family had to leave and then we had another hour with the second family. As the Patriarch of this particular family I sat in the background watching the wonder of all that was going on and occasionally contributing, but mostly watching and wondering. What had we done to produce this kaleidoscope of lives? Earlier in the day I had heard someone in tears sharing about one of his sons away from the Lord. Our three and their partners are all going for God and I sat there nearly in tears of appreciation. Why had the Lord done this – for this family is of His making. As I look back over the years there are too many things I can see that confirm that truth. It wasn’t by any great thing we have done. These beautiful but different family groups reveal the goodness of the Lord and I delighted in the wonder of it and of Him and all He has done to bring it about.
I am mindful of those beautiful prophetic words in Proverbs that has wisdom personified (Jesus) speaking of his work alongside the Father in Creation, “Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” (Prov 8:30,31) The Son delighted in working with the Father and as Creation progressed, brought into being and delighted in mankind. So the first great act of pleasure that we find in the Bible, therefore, is the very act of Creation by the godhead (remember the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters – Gen 1:2) As they delighted in us (for surely what one of them felt, they all felt) so we now delight in them. Because the Godhead have revealed themselves to us, we can now delight in them, we can take pleasure in them, in who they are and what they do.
When David wrote in Psalm 37, “Delight yourself in the I AM (the LORD)”, he knew nothing of the coming Son and possibly little of the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit (although He is there in the books that were prior to David’s time). He knew of the work of the Lord in Creation, in His dealings with the Patriarchs, with Moses and the Exodus and through Samuel, and in these things he was able to say, in a sense, there is plenty for you to delight in when it comes to the Lord. For us three thousand years on, there is so, so much more. We have the other three quarters of the Bible revealing the wonder of Him who has saved us.
If we have known the Lord any length of time we can not only ponder these things but we can reflect on our testimony and see His hand that has been on us, and we can marvel and wonder and feel great pleasure and we can bow and worship as we delight in Him.